CNN’s “woke” staff members are reportedly “terrified” following a recent purge that has seen big names unceremoniously fired from the network.
Harwood announced his sudden departure on Friday, just hours after reporting from the White House.
Following the surprise exit, current and former CNN employees told The Washington Post that there appears to be a culling of “woke” staffers at the left-wing media outlet.
Both Harwood and Stelter saw their contracts terminated prematurely.
It’s seen as evidence that new boss Chris Licht is looking to cast out those who have been critical of Donald Trump and his allies in order to present a more neutral CNN.
The network’s new owners say they want to win back CNN’s “most trusted name in news” title after becoming known as a peddler of propaganda.
One CNN journalist told the Post: “People are freaked out.
“It almost feels like there’s a pattern.
“Is there a purge going on?
“They seem to be sending a message: ‘Watch what you say. Watch what you do.'”
In a memo to staff in May, Licht, who was appointed to the network by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, said CNN needed to regain the trust of the people.
He said the outlet needed to focus on “fearlessly speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo, questioning ‘group-think,’ and educating viewers and readers with straightforward facts and insightful commentary, while always being respectful of differing viewpoints.”
Viewers were speculating online that anchors could be next, with Don Lemon being mentioned.
Other popular anchors on the possible chopping block included Jim Acosta and Jake Tapper.
A veteran producer, who like the others spoke on the condition of anonymity over concerns about their jobs, said the recent departures and unclear messaging spells trouble for the network ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.
“It’s a really confusing and unsettling time from top to bottom at CNN,” the producer told the Post.
“I don’t know anyone who is happy right now.”