CNN Employees Publicly Disagree with Network Head on Whether or Not ‘America Was Served’ by Trump Town Hall

U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel laugh during a bilateral m
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

CNN employees publicly disagreed with network head Chris Licht on whether or not “America was served” by hosting former President Donald Trump at Wednesday night’s town hall event.

The event, which was reportedly cut short due to Trump’s performance, was largely seen as a success by Trump supporters, and reportedly by Trump’s team as well.

Trump’s rare appearance on the network — highlighted by the result — did not sit well with some CNN employees, who took to public forums to air grievances about if Licht was correct in suggesting “America was served” by the town hall.

“America was served very well by what we did last night,” CNN’s CEO Licht apparently told Thursday’s 9:00 a.m. editorial call. Covering Trump is “tricky and messy” and will “continue to be messy and tricky,” he said, according to former CNN anchor Brian Stelter.

“But it’s our job,” Licht apparently added.

The Associated Press

CNN’s Chris Licht on April 11, 2019, in New York. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Stelter posted Licht’s additional comments on Twitter:

Chris Licht begins CNN’s 9am editorial call by praising @kaitlancollins for a “masterful performance last night.” He says “I couldn’t be more proud of her” and the whole team in NH. Then he says he’s aware of the backlash… More to come

“You do not have to like the former president’s answers, but you can’t say that we didn’t get them,” Licht tells staffers, many of whom are angry about the town hall. “Kaitlan pressed him again and again and made news. Made a LOT of news.” And “that is our job.”

“While we all may have been uncomfortable hearing people clapping, that was also an important part of the story,” Licht adds, because those folks represent “a large swath of America,” and the media screwed up by missing that part of the story in 2015/16.

“Many CNN employees strongly disagree,” alleged Stelter, who falsely claimed the “Laptop from Hell” was likely Russian disinformation.

Oliver Darcy, CNN’s senior media reporter, directly contradicted Licht, claiming it is “hard to see how America was served by the spectacle of lies that aired on CNN Wednesday evening.”

WATCH: Trump: ‘Unless You’re a Very Stupid Person’ You See the 2020 Election Was Rigged:

“And CNN aired it all. On and on it went. It felt like 2016 all over again,” he added in a company-wide newsletter. “[F]or most of the night, the nation’s eyes were transfixed on Trump’s abuse of the platform that he was given.”

Anchor Jake Tapper said he feared CNN did not allege enough fact checks on Trump. “We don’t have enough time to fact-check every lie he told,” he said after the event Wednesday evening.

Overall, many in the establishment media were outraged by CNN’s coverage, but few blamed the event’s host, Kaitlan Collins, for being steamrolled by Trump who hijacked the network’s event.

“Even in a world where [Collins] was correcting every Trump lie as they spewed forth — and we are pretty far from that world — the braying crowd would make Trump look like the victor,” Jonathan Chait posted on Twitter.

“This was not Kaitlin Collins’ fault,” Charlie Sykes said. “The format was impossible and CNN’s bosses should have known that.”

“This isn’t [Collins’] fault (she is doing the best one can), but this is a gushing geyser of disinformation that is cannot be fact-checked in real time,” Dan Pfeiffer added.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.


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