CNN’s Anderson Cooper sanctioned a mutiny by the viewers as he disparaged the Trump Town Hall event organized by the company he works for and said to the audience that “You have every right to be outraged today and angry and never watch this network again.” His comments stand in stark contrast to Chris Licht, the CEO of CNN who defended the decision to do the town hall event with Trump and that CNN did a public service by providing this forum uncomfortable as it may be for some viewers.
Anderson Cooper began by saying that “many of you [the viewers] have expressed deep anger and disappointment. Many of you are upset that someone who attempted to destroy our democracy was invited to sit on a stage in front of a crowd of Republican voters to answer questions, and predictably, continue to spew lie after lie after lie.” Mr. Cooper reassured his audience that “I get it. It was disturbing” and then proceeded to miscontextualize Mr. Trump’s remarks. He commented that “it was disturbing to hear that audience, young and old…laugh and applaud his lies…it is impossible to fact-check him fully because he lies so shamelessly.”
“Many of you think that CNN shouldn’t have given him any platform to speak and I understand the anger about that…this is what I also get the man you were so disturbed to see and hear from last night that man is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president,” Cooper said. “If last night showed anything it showed it can [Trump winning the presidency] happen again- it is happening again…You have every right to be outraged today and angry and never watch this network again.”
Cooper caveated this call for defection from CNN by saying “But do you think staying in your silo and only listening to people you agree with is going to make that person go away.”
Joe Concha, a columnist for The Hill, commented about Cooper’s comments, saying, “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.”
He further pointed out that “And by the way, Cooper interviewed Trump again and again in 2015-2016, so this sudden stance is beyond phony and pious.”
Mr. Concha also highlighted a town hall that Mr. Cooper hosted in 2016 with Trump by writing that “Not only did Anderson Cooper host a CNN-Trump Town Hall, the network even had the family on along with him. And the network — from its president and all of its anchors and media team — promoted the hell out of it. The outrage now is beyond contrived.”
CNN’s CEO Chris Licht defended the town hall event from his own angry employees by reportedly saying that “I absolutely unequivocally believe America was served very well by what we did last night…You do not have to like the former president’s answers, but you can’t say that we didn’t get them…Kaitlan pressed [Trump] again and again and made news…While we all may have been uncomfortable hearing people clapping, that was also an important part of the story.” Licht maintained that CNN was there for the public coverage and its job is to make “a lot of news.”