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Mark Whitaker: ‘People around the world really appreciate what we stand for, and what we do’

The Wrap speaks to CNN executive VP Mark Whitaker about the state of CNN. Some of it is familiar (Fox News and MSNBC are partisan, CNN is more than CNN/U.S.) but Whitaker also passionately defends the CNN brand, and acknowledges its recent mistakes, like the botched Supreme Court healthcare reporting.

Whitaker says that CNN is in the process of trying to change its programming lineup top one that provides “extra value.”

“CNN could not prosper by continuing to function as the place where people are learning about news for the first time,” he said. “We absolutely have to be providing extra value for people who we assume are likely to already know what’s been going on, or at least the headlines.”

But CNN refuses to turn to what Whitaker calls “partisan” analysis — “or sometimes just ranting.”

He also uses an anecdote from the recent Libyan uprising to explain just how far and powerful the CNN brand is:

When rebels took over the Libyan city of Benghazi last year during the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, at one point a crowd of celebrating townspeople looked up to see a CNN camera crew.

“And in unison, thousands of people started chanting ‘CNN, CNN, CNN,’” he said. “People around the world really appreciate what we stand for, and what we do.”

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