Perspectives; Thoughts; Comments; Opinions; Discussions

By: CHRIS ENLOE | May 15, 2023


Image source: YouTube screenshot

CNN executives reportedly dressed down reporter Oliver Darcy for “emotional” coverage of the network’s town hall with former President Donald Trump. After the town hall last Wednesday, Darcy appeared to question the judgement of CNN leaders who decided that hosting Trump, a 2024 presidential candidate, would be a good idea for the network, let alone the country.

“It’s hard to see how America was served by the spectacle of lies that aired on CNN Wednesday evening,” wrote Darcy in the opening of the Reliable Sources newsletter after the town hall.

He added:

While [moderator Kaitlan] Collins is largely receiving praise for her relentless fact-checking of the former president, she was facing an impossible task.

CNN and new network boss Chris Licht are facing a fury of criticism — both internally and externally over the event. How Licht and other CNN executives address the criticism in the coming days and weeks will be crucial. Will they defend what transpired at Saint Anselm College? Or will they express some regret? For now, CNN is defending itself.

On Thursday, Darcy and his editor were summoned to a meeting with CNN executives. At the meeting were CEO Chris Licht and other executives responsible for communications and editorial. According to media reporter Dylan Byers, Darcy was told in no uncertain terms that “his coverage had been too emotional.” The executives reportedly instructed Darcy that he should remain “dispassionate” — i.e., not overly emotional but impartial — in all his work, whether writing about CNN or any other media organization.

Sources further told Byers that during the meeting, “Darcy stood by his work and pushed back on the ’emotional’ characterization.” But after the meeting, Darcy was “visibly shaken,” the sources added.

“They put the fear of God into him,” one source said.

Semafor later reported that the meeting ended “cordially,” with Licht offering his support for Darcy. Still, according to Semafor, Darcy “has wondered to colleagues whether he should resign or if he will be fired by the network” since the meeting and news of it broke. But a CNN spokesperson said Darcy will remain with the network.

“Oliver does not intend to resign and his newsletter will be out per usual this evening,” CNN spokesperson Matt Dornic said.

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