Discovery CEO Zaslav Sees CNN as ‘The Leader in News’

Discovery CEO Zaslav Sees CNN as 'The Leader in News' Discovery CEO Zaslav Sees CNN as 'The Leader in News' (Getty)

By Charlie McCarthy | Friday, 04 February 2022 01:46 PM

The man who'll soon oversee CNN on Friday was a little too liberal in his choice of words to describe the network’s news division.

"We're the leader in news, to the left," Discovery CEO David Zaslav told CNBC’s "Squawk Box" on Friday morning.

Zaslav will assume oversight of CNN once a merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery becomes official, expected in the spring.

Upon hearing Zaslav's comment, CNBC host Joe Kernen quickly chimed in.

"Definitely to the left," Kernen said. "Did you say to the left? Man, you weren’t kidding"

Zaslav, realizing how his comment could be interpreted, replied: "That was an aside. I probably shouldn't have said that."

Mediaite reported that Zaslav was referring to the left side of the Discovery portfolio, not the left side of the political aisle. The CEO followed up by saying he viewed sports as being on the right side of the portfolio.

During a summit at The Paley Center for Media in November, Zaslav vowed to take a "hands-on" role in CNN operations.

"I think overall we’d probably be better off if we just had news networks in America," rather than those with an opinion element. "But we don't,” he said, Deadline reported.

"Media tends to be a reflection of where the country is. Where the country was when we launched MSNBC was much more fact-based and less divided."

During Friday’s interview in Pebble Beach, California, Zaslav had little to tell CNBC about former CNN President Jeff Zucker, who announced his resignation Wednesday after revealing that he had a relationship with senior network executive.

"Jeff is a good friend of mine. I can't speak to this issue. We don't own the company yet," Zaslav told "Squawk Box."