CNN Worldwide CEO Chris Licht defended the network’s town hall with Donald Trump amid criticism that the network was giving the former president a platform to spew lies and misinformation.
On the network’s morning editorial call, Licht said, “I absolutely unequivocally believe America was served very well by what we did last night, because it laid bare and created, in the words of Joe Scarborough, a political earthquake, and that people woke up and they know what the stakes are in this election in a way that they didn’t the day before.”
Licht noted the coverage of the town hall in Axios, which keyed in on what Trump said about his positions on Ukraine, abortion and pardoning January 6th rioters, among other topics.
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“There is so much we learned last night about what a second Trump presidency would look like, that that is incredible important for the country to hear,” Licht said. “That is our job, is to get those answers and to hold him accountable in a way that no news organization has done in years, and while we all may have been uncomfortable, hearing people clapping, that was also an important part of the story, because the people in that audience represent a large swath of America.”
Licht also praised moderator Kaitlan Collins, telling staffers that she gave a “masterful performance.” “It’s tough to imagine anyone navigating such a tricky assignment with more ease than Kaitlan. She asked tough questions, followed up, followed up, fact checked again in real time, and as you can see that is not an easy feat.”
More to come.
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