OAN Brooke Mallory
UPDATED 4:49 PM – Thursday, May 11, 2023
Chris Licht, the CEO and chairman of CNN, has received much criticism and condemnation from the cable network’s staff and fans for giving former President Donald Trump a platform to reiterate his political positions and ideas during Wednesday’s Town Hall.
The network, which has struggled with a major drop in ratings ever since Licht fired ex-correspondent and show co-host Don Lemon, came under fire for placing moderator Kaitlan Collins “in a no-win situation.”
Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., expressed his thoughts on the event and re-tweeted a video post on Twitter.
“I can’t believe anyone thought this was a good idea,” said an anonymous staffer who spoke with the press.
Many Instagram users who follow CNN’s social media page commented on the network’s recent Trump Town Hall post and voiced their frustrations.
“At this point, CNN is contributing to the collapse of society just as much as Fox News,” commented one user, who had received 990 likes from other users.
Oliver Darcy, a CNN media reporter, was reportedly in great distress during the 70-minute event.
“CNN and new network boss Chris Licht are facing a fury of criticism — both internally and externally over the event,” Darcy wrote in his “Reliable Sources” newsletter.
At a 9:00 a.m. editorial meeting on Thursday, Licht reportedly tried to calm his agitated team, according to insiders at the network.
“You do not have to like the former president’s answers, but you can’t say that we didn’t get them,” Licht said, according to recorded audio from the CNN staff meeting.
Additionally, Licht rejected assertions that Collins did not respond vehemently enough to Trump’s allegations of election fraud and other issues.
“Kaitlan pressed him again and again and made news… Made a lot of news… That is our job,” Licht reportedly told his staff.
However, Collins has also reportedly come under fire from CNN viewers and critics of Trump for allowing the former president to reiterate his “allegations of electoral fraud in 2020.”
Trump teased columnist E. Jean Carroll, who sued him for defamation after accusing the former president of rape. This has been adamantly refuted by Trump.
The GOP crowd applauded boisterously when Trump labeled Collins as “nasty” after she conveyed a very condescending and juvenile demeanor while criticizing him for claiming the election was “rigged.”
“While we all may have been uncomfortable hearing people clapping, that was also an important part of the story,” Licht told employees.
The head of the network then explained that the cheering GOP audience represented “a large swath of America.”
On Thursday, former politician and MSNBC television co-host Joe Scarborough slammed the competing network.
“You can go piece by piece by piece to talk about how breathtakingly dangerous what we saw was last night… This virus of lies that’s been loosened on the American people,” Scarborough said.
However, Collins, a journalist for CNN who had served as the Chief White House correspondent until 2022, received a great review and “pat on the back” from Licht.
“Tonight Kaitlan Collins exemplified what it means to be a world-class journalist. She asked tough, fair, and revealing questions,” said a network spokesperson in a statement to numerous media outlets on Wednesday.
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