During an interview with David Marchese of The New York Times, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper expressed his confusion regarding the actions of former CNN CEO Chris Licht. Months after Licht’s departure from the network, Cooper questioned why Licht had steered CNN away from editorializing and the left-leaning stance toward a more centrist political approach.
Cooper admitted that he didn’t grasp the purpose of Licht’s vision for CNN, stating, “Yeah…I read things in the paper, but I’m not sure what the point of it all was.”
Marchese was surprised that a prominent anchor like Cooper wasn’t well-informed about the CEO’s vision and its importance. He asked Cooper if there had been any communication about these changes with him, to which Cooper responded, “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’s vision diverged from the views of many CNN employees, leading to tension within the network. This tension escalated when CNN hosted a political town hall event featuring former President Donald Trump, which garnered high ratings but subjected CNN moderator Kaitlan Collins to criticism from Trump, who accused the network of spreading “fake news.” Cooper publicly criticized CNN for inviting Trump to the town hall.
If I'm Licht, I fire Anderson Cooper tomorrow. And Tapper. And everyone else who is attempting to drive a mutiny. CNN will never move remotely to the middle until getting rid of the current talent who clearly has zero motivation to avoid being activists for the Democratic Party. https://t.co/TrTCztUoMA— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) May 12, 2023
Chris Licht, an experienced television producer renowned for his contributions to shows such as “Morning Joe” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” found himself let go just 13 months after being hired, seemingly due to his approach.
Fox News reported that an insider from CNN suggested, “[Licht] faced backlash because he aimed to balance the ideological spectrum.”
Cooper expressed his lack of understanding regarding some of Licht’s decisions, saying, “I didn’t really comprehend the reasons behind some of his choices.”
The newly appointed CEO of CNN, Mark Thompson, faces the challenging task of reversing the network’s declining ratings. With the 2024 election looming and discussions of impeachments and indictments in the air, networks will be competing for viewership and influence. The stakes remain high for CNN as it regroups and charts its path for future reporting.