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CNN to Close Iconic Headquarters in Atlanta Amid Shift In Company Direction

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


As CNN continues to struggle to attract more viewers, reportedly shifting from a highly partisan left-wing voice to one that is more moderate and fair, the media giant appears to be in for a change of scenery as well.

According to Wednesday reports, the company will move out of its iconic headquarters building in downtown Atlanta and relocate to the Turner Techwood campus in Midtown, which is located outside the city. Matt Vespa at Townhall noted some recent history involving the location:

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When left-wing mobs tried to breach the facility during the summer of 2020, maybe it was a window into the future. George Floyd had just been killed in Minneapolis by ex-police officer Derek Chauvin, which set off a wave of protests across the country. Violent leftist mobs burned down half the country with the contentious 2020 election in the backdrop, along with the COVID pandemic.

And CNN was there covering the violent, but mostly peaceful unlawful civil unrest that set records in damaged property claims. CNN’s Atlanta headquarters was targeted, with confrontations spilling into the lobby. The building also housed a police precinct, so while the building was vandalized, protesters could go no further due to police protection. 

“After more than 35 years, CNN is leaving its downtown mainstay in stages this year, with the entire operation moving back to renovated space at the 30-acre Turner Techwood campus in Midtown, according to a CNN spokeswoman,” reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, referencing a site named after CNN’s founder, billionaire Ted Turner.

PJ Media noted further:

Originally, the appeal of CNN locating itself in Atlanta was that it remained at a safe enough distance from the coastal elites to maintain an unbiased view of events, at least in theory. But the network gradually moved its operations to the places it initially sought to distance itself from. Only some of the behind-the-scenes operations remain in Atlanta.

And this year, CNN’s presence in the city’s downtown area will disappear. In 1987, Turner bought the former Omni Complex, located inside a hotel and briefly home to an ice-skating rink, a bar owned by Burt Reynolds, and the World of Sid & Marty Krofft, a failed indoor theme park.

After purchasing the property, Turner transformed it into a tourist attraction and a 24-hour working news center. The studios were designed to allow guests to get as close to the live broadcasts as possible without actually interfering with them, drawing some 300,000 people a year until the tours were shut down by the pandemic.

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“The CNN Center helped revitalize Atlanta’s downtown core, a tourist area that is once again falling victim to crime,” PJ Media added.

The property was sold in 2021 by then-owner AT&T to a pair of Florida developers, and at the time, the network began shifting more of its operations to its 40-acre midtown campus. The current owner, Warner Bros. Discovery, is quickening the pace of the move and will vacate the premises completely by year’s end.

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A couple of former CNN staffers voiced their displeasure with the decision to leave the property entirely.

“I am heartbroken,” Tom Johnson, CNN president from 1990 to 2001, told the AJC. “So many of my friends tell me how they’re going to miss that wonderful CNN logo on top of CNN Center. It just meant so much to us.”

“It was like getting a phone call and finding out your parents were selling grandma’s house,” added Tenisha Tidwell, a former executive producer, to the newspaper.“No! You don’t sell grandma’s house! I had so many memories there, the laughter, the people.”

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The move is seen as a cost-cutting measure while the network continues its struggle to attract viewers, losing out to cable news leader Fox News and even liberal competitor MSNBC. According to end-of-the-year figures, Fox News Channel placed 92 shows in the top 100 on all cable TV this year.

FNC boss Suzanne Scott noted: “From America’s choice on election night to the home of late night’s smash hit show, 2022 was a testament to our unmatched skill in delivering the most innovative news and opinion programming to our audience which continues to rank as the most politically diverse in cable news. I am beyond proud of our entire team’s incredible achievements this year.”

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