Written, directed, and starring Chris Licht:
How are we gonna cover Trump? That’s not something I stay up at night thinking about,” Chris Licht told me. “It’s very simple.”
It was the fall of 2022. This was the first of many on-the-record interviews that Licht had agreed to give me, and I wanted to know how CNN’s new leader planned to deal with another Donald Trump candidacy. Until recently Licht had been producing a successful late-night comedy show. Now, just a few months into his job running one of the world’s preeminent news organizations, he claimed to have a “simple” answer to the question that might very well come to define his legacy.
“The media has absolutely, I believe, learned its lesson,” Licht said.
Sensing my surprise, he grinned.
“I really do,” Licht said. “I think they know that he’s playing them—at least, the people in my organization. We’ve had discussions about this. We know that we’re getting played, so we’re gonna resist it.”
Licht, in fact, had not learned his lesson:
While CNN has consistently trailed both Fox and MSNBC this year, the network has been particularly under pressure as it has been attempting to pivot from its left-leaning coverage during the Trump administration.
But that has seemingly come at the expense of its core audience.
In recent weeks, Newsmax–a conservative cable network outlier–has topped CNN in several time slots — particularly with Eric Bolling beating Cooper’s main show, “AC306,” at 8 p.m.
CNN chasing wingnuts is like Joe Manchin and other blue dogs chasing Trump voters. They fucking hate you, they don’t care what you have to say or how you say it, and a core part of their cultural identity is fucking hating you. So stop sucking up to them, stop firing talent inexplicably, and stop making yourself unpalatable to the other 75% of the country who fucking hates MAGA.
Just do good journalism. Jesus christ Jay Rosen has been screaming into a vacuum for the entire Trump administration and beyond. Maybe fucking listen to him.