Headline RoundupMay 11th, 2023

CNN CEO Defends Trump Town Hall Amid Criticism From Staffers

Summary from the AllSides News Team

CNN (Lean Left bias) staffers are reportedly criticizing CEO Chris Licht over the network’s Wednesday night town hall featuring former President Donald Trump.

Internal Critics: CNN analyst Oliver Darcy said the network received “a fury of criticism — both internally and externally,” after Trump “unleashed a firehose of lies.” Additionally, an anonymous CNN staffer told The Washington Post (Lean Left bias), “I can’t believe anyone thought this was a good idea.”

Licht’s Defense: Licht defended the event, saying, “I absolutely, unequivocally believe America was served very well by what we did last night.” He continued: “People woke up and they know what the stakes are in this election in a way that they didn’t the day before. And if someone was going to ask tough questions and have that messy conversation, it damn well should be on CNN.”

For Context: Licht has reportedly worked to limit partisan coverage at CNN — the most popular source of online U.S. news — since taking the reins from former CNN president Jeff Zucker in February 2022. AllSides moved CNN’s bias rating from Left to Lean Left after a February 2023 Blind Bias Survey and a March 2023 Editorial Review. 

Media Reactions: Several left-leaning media outlets featured voices criticizing Licht; a New Republic (Left bias) writer said CNN executives “brought total shame on themselves, journalism, and America.” Coverage from the left often framed Trump as dishonest; The Guardian (Lean Left bias) called the town hall “lie-strewn.” Meanwhile, Fox News (Right bias) framed the “liberal network” as desperate for ratings, and  The Daily Wire (Right bias) called the criticism “Leftist Backlash.”     

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