As we head into 2022, the news is filled with uncertainty – when the pandemic will end and if inflation will ebb, to name a few.
The same is true in the news sector, as the past year has been marked by disruption, between the surprise departures of several news personalities and the prospect of others in the coming year, so that all the networks are trying to beef up their streaming. offers in anticipation of a possible change in live television viewing habits.
Here are ten things to watch for in the coming year:
To start the year, almost every channel is planning extensive coverage and retrospectives of the first anniversary of the US Capitol siege. CNN is planning a live event from the National Statuary Hall, one of the parts of the complex overrun by rioters. This will be followed by continued coverage of one of DC’s biggest stories of the year: the January 6 Committee investigation and its potential ramifications and inevitable right-wing backlash. While the investigation will shed light on the extent to which Donald Trump and his allies were involved in planning the events leading up to the attack, it has also sparked a constitutional clash, as the former president has asked weigh in on its efforts to assert executive privilege over records and other documents.
NBC Olympic coverage
The Winter Games will be held February 4-20 in Beijing, but it’s amid international outrage at China over its human rights record, including abuses against ethnic Uyghur minorities. that US officials call genocide. This led to a diplomatic boycott of the Games, although Team USA will continue to participate. All of this puts pressure on broadcast rights holder NBCUniversal to avoid encouraging China to portray the event as some sort of nationalist contest, as the network will face intense scrutiny for how it covers the Games and international demonstrations against the regime in Beijing. Bob Costas, once a longtime Olympic anchor for NBC, recently shared his own experiences about what happened when he spoke out, as well as what happened to other media outlets. “It’s tough ground now for NBC and for other Americans. We don’t know what kind of peril anyone could be in if they speak up,” Costas said, citing examples of how China cut off coverage streams. “They don’t tolerate criticism, they double down and they threaten consequences.”
The network has tried to establish an online news business before, but CNN+ is by far the most ambitious: with shows from Chris Wallace, Katie Hunt, Anderson Cooper and others, CNN’s launch of its own -streaming subscription form, due in the first quarter, will undoubtedly be the most anticipated of all debuts of the coming year, as it aims to be more than just a farming team for its traditional network. But CNN is also a little behind the game in offering a news service with its own unique content, and there are a lot of questions about how many viewers will want to shell out more after already having so many subscriptions to it. other platforms. The service is also a potential finale to Jeff Zucker’s era on the network, with no word on his role after the WarnerMedia-Discovery deal closes. He had previously planned to leave at the end of this year, but later agreed to stay until the deal was completed.
Brian Williams, Chris Cuomo and Rachel Maddow
The year saw disruption to the roster of star cable news hosts, with Brian Williams taking the surprise decision not to renew his contract at MSNBC, and Chris Cuomo being fired following revelations about the extent to which he had advised his brother, then governor of New York. Andrew Cuomo, as he faced allegations of sexual harassment. Williams didn’t say what he plans to do next, but he did indicate it’s not his retirement. Cuomo’s future is uncertain as he reportedly weighs legal options. The two leave two gaping holes for MSNBC and CNN to fill their nightly lineups. But the biggest change might come from the Rachel Maddow show. While she signed a new contract with NBCUniversal last summer, she reportedly wanted to venture out of the five-night-a-week grind into other projects, which could include the network’s streaming platforms. So far, MSNBC has insisted that its show stay as is. Others to watch: Gayle King, co-host of CBS Matineesand Norah O’Donnell, co-presenter of CBS Evening Newswho are both about to renew their contracts.
White House Press Secretary
Jen Psaki brought back the daily press briefings in her role as President Joe Biden’s press secretary and, in general, normality in the briefing room, but she also said early on that she did not expect remain in office throughout the term and will step down after just over a year. Whether she follows through on it or not, her comments very quickly sparked a lot of interest in who would be a potential successor. Karine Jean-Pierre, the assistant press attaché, already intervenes to make briefings and gags when Psaki is absent, so she would be a candidate of choice. But criticism of the White House, from pundits like David Gergen, has sometimes focused on areas like communication and messaging, which is sort of an inescapable refrain when polling numbers drop, and it doesn’t. would not be completely irrelevant. the usual for someone outside the president’s team to step into the role. During Barack Obama’s first term, Robert Gibbs resigned and was replaced by Jay Carney, who worked for Biden when he was vice president, while Donald Trump tapped expert/campaign spokeswoman Kaleigh McEnany to fill the role amid the tumult of 2020.
There will be more cable news controversy in 2022, and Tucker Carlson will likely be at the center of much of it. As cable’s leading personality, Carlson also established a following that capitalized on government grievances and mistrust. It sparked protests and condemnation from groups like the Anti Defamation League and its documentary Fox Nation Purge of the Patriots reportedly agitated the media to the point that two of his personalities voiced their objections to Fox executives. Over the past year, however, the furor over his comments appears to have only strengthened his standing on the right and at Fox News, and the network has given him an even higher profile with another show on its news service. streaming Fox Nation. What to watch: If the network selects a permanent opinion leader as Carlson’s introduction at 7 p.m. ET.
Smartmatic and Dominion
The two election systems companies have sued Fox News for billions, along with other outlets including One America News Network and Newsmax, claiming they were defamed by the platform the media gave to conspiracy theories. 2020 election. While a trial in either case may be a long way off, the next year should see how far the two companies will go to advance their legal claims. So far, a judge has dismissed Fox News’ efforts to dismiss the Dominion lawsuit, and we’re still awaiting information on the fate of Smartmatic’s case against the network. While the lawsuit is far-reaching, it could also define how far the media can go to bring to light wild and unfounded conspiracy theories, even when they are those put forward by the then-president and his allies. Fox News argued that it was reporting a story that was undoubtedly in the public interest, while Dominion and Smartmatic argue that such claims were given a live platform, repeated by network personalities and their guests even after that the outlets have been warned of their falsity.
Coming out of the 2020 viewership peaks, audiences disconnected from the news in general, in what is likely a combination of fatigue or simply the lack of a nationally competitive presidential race. Expect news networks to do their utmost to generate interest in the midterm elections, which could be helped by the entry of celebrities and well-known candidates (like Dr Oz, Stacey Abrams and Beto O’Rourke) as well as the overall consequential nature of the race: Democrats face an uphill battle to retain a majority. In fact, the House is more likely than not to move to Republican control, and the GOP has a good chance in the Senate as well. All of this underpins the question of whether Democrats are making progress in advancing voting rights legislation, which seems to hinge on whether the party unites to change or remove the filibuster. systematic.
Local news struggles
Meanwhile, the pandemic has been, in many ways, devastating for local media, as working digital business models remain elusive and Facebook and Google absorb advertising dollars. It’s not just small and medium-sized towns that have felt the effects of the downsizing. Last year, hedge fund Alden Capital, known for its aggressive cost-cutting, acquired Tribune Company, owner of the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and the New York Daily News. The Build Back Better Act includes tax breaks for outlets that hire local journalists, but as we’ve seen in the final weeks of this year, the fate of the legislation is uncertain. What is lost is not just quality coverage of local issues and responsible journalism, but even a sense of proportion and perspective. Stephen Waldman, chair of the Rebuild Local News coalition, tweeted: “In 2021 we learned about the rise of misinformation and – separately – the collapse of local news. 2022 has to be the year we see the connection between the two trends – that a key solution to combating misinformation and polarization IS strengthening local news.
White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner
After a two-year absence, the White House Correspondents’ Association plans to put its annual dinner back on DC’s social diary, with an April 30 date set for the Washington Hilton. For years, the dinner was the subject of endless scrutiny and criticism over the show of reporters partying with their sources, but the dinner continued, even during the Trump years, when he refused to attend it. President Joe Biden returned to tradition and attended this year’s Kennedy Center Honors, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he also attended the WHCA dinner. The variable continues to be Covid, with the latest variant forcing a bit of a rethink on all sorts of public events in the coming weeks.