THE NEWS It’s Christmas Day, Semafor’s been publishing for two months, and I’m so grateful that you͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌ 


cloudy Hudsonsunny Nashvillesunny Lagos


It’s Christmas Day, Semafor’s been publishing for two months, and I’m so grateful that you’ve come along on the ride with us.


You can read on for a perfectly seasonal, boozy media scoop from Max, and a Christmas text from the editor of Christianity Today.

But I’d just like to quickly say thank you.

I am, in some sort of 20th Century American cliche, writing this at the table where we light the Menorah under the Christmas tree. I grew up in that kind of family — devout Christians and less devout Jews, conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats.

That background predisposes me to believe that people may sincerely disagree. That belief is usually an advantage as a journalist. But in the social media age, it’s sometimes been a liability, as various forms of shouting gradually filled what had been room for disagreement.

So I’m grateful to the people who have taken a chance on Semafor.

That includes the great reporters and editors who joined Justin Smith and me over the year, breaking huge stories on Wall Street to the Capitol Hill, TikTok, Twitter, and the Nigerian election. They’ve been my partners in developing our new “Semaform” format: our way of marking the difference between news and analysis, and showcasing the possibility of reasonable disagreement.

I’m incredibly grateful to the readers and viewers who have joined us in trying to find an alternative to all the shouting.

I’m also feeling some relief this Christmas as it becomes clear that we're living at the end of an era in journalism, and the beginning of another.

When you get beyond the drama of Twitter and the flickers of life on your Facebook feed, what we’re seeing is the end of the whole social media age in news.

Semafor is, I hope, one of the things that comes next: Great reporting transparently delivered to you by humans, with both ambition and humility. We’ll have a lot more for you next year, including big events like this month’s Semafor Africa Summit and, I hope, a continuing run of big stories.

(It’s not too late to send me my favorite Christmas present, a scoop.)

I’ll be lighting eight candles before my family heads out to midnight mass tonight in the Hudson Valley, deeply grateful to you, and wishing you all the best for an inevitably newsy holiday season.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and all the rest.

Max Tani

The sober new CNN is drying out on New Year's Eve



CNN is cutting back on the drinking on its New Year’s Eve broadcast for its sober new era, and some of its on-air personalities aren’t happy.


CNN’s widely-viewed U.S. New Year’s Eve program has in recent years regularly strayed into tipsy, sloppy hilarity. CNN This Morning host Don Lemon got his ear pierced in a bar in New Orleans, and last year Bravo’s Andy Cohen went on a series of rants complaining about former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

But CNN President Chris Licht has chosen to take ratings hits in order to reposition the network to audiences as more serious. This year, Licht said in one internal meeting that Cooper and Cohen will be permitted to imbibe, prompting Cooper to tell network leadership he’s concerned at the perception that only the two white hosts are permitted to drink.

Licht then walked that rule back: “Chris made an offhand remark in a town hall about drinking during the NYE program,” an aide said. “Shortly after, he proactively reached out to Anderson to clarify that his comments were meant as a joke and that he preferred no drinking on air at all.”

In any event Lemon, who will likely be dispatched to hard-partying New Orleans, was not pleased about the sober state of things, another CNN insider said.

Not everyone is planning on letting the new regime spoil the fun. On his show after the news was announced, Andy Cohen said that since the correspondents will not be drinking this year, he “will be partying even harder on their behalf.“

I asked Licht about the change at a recent holiday party, where he maintained that it was important for the network’s anchors to be perceived as credible on air, not sloppy. He added that he will be in the control room New Years Eve, and will have a celebratory drink.


One Good Text with ... Russell Moore

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— Ben