‘Is there a purge?’: John Harwood’s CNN exit viewed as strategy shift

CNN parted ways with veteran White House correspondent John Harwood on Friday in what network insiders viewed as the latest evidence of a shift to a less politically charged

tone under new leader Chris Licht. Harwood, who could not be reached for comment, appeared on CNN on Friday morning, reporting from the grounds of the White House. But at

noon, he announced his departure on Twitter. He wrote that he is “proud of the work” he did at CNN and “[looks] forward to figuring out what’s next.” Harwood, a longtime

Wall Street Journal reporter, joined the network in January 2020 after working as CNBC’s chief Washington correspondent from 2006 to 2019. According to two people with knowledge

of the situation, Harwood still had time remaining on his CNN contract, which suggests that network brass decided to end his tenure prematurely. Representatives for CNN

declined to comment on the reason for his departure. “We appreciate John’s work covering the White House, and we wish him all the best,” they said in a statement. As a

reporter who often provided political analysis, Harwood was a regular presence on the network’s airwaves who was “clearly in-demand by the shows,” said one surprised CNN insider.

His exit follows the abrupt departure of CNN’s chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter, host of the weekly media news show “Reliable Sources,” which had aired for three

decades until it was canceled last month. Like Harwood, Stelter had time remaining on his contract. Another longtime CNN commentator, legal-affairs pundit Jeffrey Toobin,

announced his departure on Aug. 12.