In an interview with The New York Times’ David Marchese, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper criticized his network’s former CEO, Chris Licht.
Several months after CNN network heads terminated Licht, Cooper said he remains unclear on why Licht felt a need to move CNN away from editorializing and the left and toward the political center.
Cooper shared that he didn’t understand “what the point” of Licht’s vision was for the network.
“Yeah … I read things in the paper, but I’m not sure what the point of it all was,” Cooper said.
Marchese seemed surprised that an anchor was not well aware of the CEO’s vision and why he felt it was important.
“So at no point did anybody communicate ‘this is what we’re doing now’ to one of the most high-profile anchors at CNN?” Marchese asked Cooper.
Amazingly, Cooper said: “I met with Chris and had a general sense of what the concern was … [but] my sense from Chris was there was not a lot we needed to hash out because I’m not an opinion host.”
Licht clearly disagreed, gave multiple warnings about editorializing, and over a period of seven months, fired Brian Stelter, John Harwood, Jeffry Toobin, and Don Lemon for not supporting the new CNN vision.
Licht’s vision, however, did not sit well with many CNN employees, and tension came to a head when the network invited former President Donald Trump to a CNN-hosted political town hall event.
The event drew big ratings, but Trump pounded CNN moderator Kaitlan Collins and embarrassed the network for propagating what he refers to as “fake news.”
Cooper publicly criticized CNN for inviting Trump to the town hall.
Licht, though a seasoned television producer known for his significant contributions to shows like “Morning Joe” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” seemingly went too far and was let go 13 months after he was hired.
Fox News reported that a CNN insider claimed: “[Licht] got cancel cultured because he wanted to level the ideological playing field.”
“I didn’t really get why he made some of the choices he did,” Cooper said.
CNN’s new CEO, Mark Thompson is tasked with reversing CNN’s plummeting ratings.
With the 2024 election on the horizon and whispers of impeachments and indictments in the air, networks will be vying for viewership and influence. The stakes remain high for CNN as it regroups and sets the course for future reporting.
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