CNN’s new boss kicked off his first day on the job by telling employees he wants to focus the network’s reporting on news and “truth” amid criticism over the scandal-scarred network’s heavy emphasis on opinion-based shows.

Chris Licht — who officially replaced CNN’s disgraced boss Jeff Zucker on Monday following stints as an executive producer at “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “CBS This Morning” — circulated a memo to employees saying “too many people have lost trust in the news media.”

“I think we can be a beacon in regaining that trust by being an organization that exemplifies the best characteristics of journalism: 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.” Licht wrote.

“First and foremost, we should, and we will be advocates for the truth,” he added.

Licht, the former executive producer of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” started his new gig at CNN where he replaced longtime boss Jeff Zucker.
CBS via Getty Images

The memo marks Licht’s first remarks about his vision for the network. He recently addressed some 400 CNN employees last Thursday, after new management shuttered CNN+, the network’s expensive one-month old streaming service.

“This is a uniquely shitty situation,” Licht said at the time, hoping to calm hundreds of angry employees who just lost their jobs.

Licht was handpicked by David Zaslav, the incoming CEO of CNN’s new corporate parent Warner Bros. Discovery, which is comprised of WarnerMedia, also home to HBO, and Discovery, which owns TLC, Animal Planet and Food Network.

David Zaslav
New CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery David Zaslav said recently that he wants CNN to get away from “advocacy” journalism.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Earlier this month, Zaslav told employees that he wants CNN to focus on the facts and set itself apart from a cable-news industry that he says is monopolized by “advocacy networks.”

“If we get that, we can have a civilized society,” Zaslav said. “And without it, if it all becomes advocacy, we don’t have a civilized society.”

Zucker’s mandate to inject commentary and points of view into daily reporting had juiced CNN’s ratings during Donald Trump’s presidency, but has turned off viewers since Trump left office, causing CNN’s ratings to crater.

CNN has been marred by scandal in recent months and new management has signaled a desire for the network to return to unbiased, hard news, a departure from its mission under Zucker.
CNN has been marred by scandal in recent months and new management has signaled a desire for the network to return to unbiased, hard news, a departure from its mission under Zucker.
Getty Images

CNN has been tarnished over its mishandling of high-profile scandals Chief among them was Zucker’s mishandling of CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, whom he fired in December. The anchor was found to be secretly aiding the defense of his embattled older brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, over sexual harassment allegations that resulted in his resignation.

Soon after, Zucker resigned in February, citing a romantic relationship with a colleague. The imbroglio caused an uproar among CNN staffers, who were angry about Zucker’s exit and the thought that Cuomo would get a massive severance package, despite breaking journalistic standards related to coverage of his brother.

Even before that, billionaire media mogul John Malone — a close confidant of Zaslav — and a board member of the combined company, criticized CNN for its slanted coverage.

“I would like to see CNN evolve back to the kind of journalism that it started with, and actually have journalists, which would be unique and refreshing,” Malone said during a CNBC interview last November. “I do believe good journalism could have a role in this future portfolio that Discovery-TimeWarner’s going to represent.”

Read More