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CNN Boss Chris Licht Lights Up ‘The Left’ Over His Reforms: ‘Uninformed Vitriol’

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.

The new boss of CNN, Chris Licht, appears to have gotten fed up with criticisms from “the left” of his reforms at the struggling cable news outlet and has now responded to liberals who are taking issue with his latest programming moves.

After being named the network’s CEO in February, Licht has moved to remake the news company by getting rid of its failed online streaming service CNN+ and dismissing several of the network’s prominent hosts and personalities in an attempt to make coverage less biased toward the left. In an interview with The New York Times, Licht said he wants the network to host a “rational conversation about polarizing issues.”

Interestingly, he said, he has gotten the loudest criticism — “uniformed vitriol,” as he called it — from left-wing figures, which is the audience that CNN catered to for years under previous leadership.


“The uninformed vitriol, especially from the left, has been stunning,” Licht told the Times. “Which proves my point: so much of what passes for news is name-calling, half-truths, and desperation.”

The Daily Wire noted:

In his short tenure, Licht has let go of high-profile journalists, columnists, and contributors such as Brian Stelter, John Harwood, Jeffrey Toobin, and Chris Cillizza. Licht has also attempted to balance some of the network’s left-wing slant by bringing on Stephen Gutowski, founder of the firearms reporting site The Reload, as a contributor.

Licht has also moved around some of CNN’s lineup. He moved host Don Lemon out of a prime-time slot and into a morning show with two other cohosts. Licht attempted to move host Jake Tapper into former host Chris Cuomo’s prime-time slot, but Tapper’s tenure there proved to be short lived. Cuomo had been let go by the network months earlier, after an internal investigation reportedly concluded that the host had inappropriately attempted to help his brother, Andrew Cuomo, as the former New York governor was mired in scandal.

He went on to say that while he did not want to make the network “centrist,” he wanted to bring in people with various informed viewpoints to make coverage and debate much more lively and interesting.

“This is not vanilla, centrist, or boring,” he told the Times. “The change is we will not do Trump 24/7 or let him dictate our agenda.”

“One of the biggest misconceptions about my vision is that I want to be vanilla, that I want to be centrist. That is bulls***,” Licht told The Financial Times, adding that he wants viewers to have an informative and interesting experience rather than focusing on left- or right-wing political opinions.

“You have to be compelling. You have to have edge. In many cases, you take a side. Sometimes you just point out uncomfortable questions. But either way you don’t see it through a lens of left or right,” he added.

“If everything is a crisis, if everything is 11, if everything is breaking news, then no one listens when there actually is a crisis,” he said. “When you say, ‘No, no — really — the house is on fire now.’”


Last week, another longtime CNN host and correspondent, Ana Cabrera, announced that she is the latest notable figure to be departing the troubled network, which continues to struggle for viewers.

“Since news broke of her pending departure earlier this month, sources have said that she is eyeing a role at NBCUniversal. The network has declined to comment and Cabrera’s reps did not return requests for comment. Her exit is said to be unrelated to the recent layoffs at the network,” Deadline reported. “Cabrera anchors CNN Newsroom weekdays at 1 PM ET. She wrote on Twitter that her final show will be on Dec. 22.”

The departing host also issued a statement.

“My heart is full of gratitude for the incredible opportunities I’ve had at CNN to serve our viewers and to work alongside extraordinary journalists. CNN has been like a family. I love my colleagues and believe in the mission of the organization.” she said.

“But after nearly a decade at CNN, I’m making the personal decision to explore a new professional chapter. Time to embrace new challenges and opportunities,” Cabrera continued. “I’m firmly committed to my work as a journalist in the next stage of my career. But for now, I look forward to hitting pause and spending some extra time with my family.”

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