At CNN, there seems to be a clear message: open rebellion against the network’s CEO, Chris Licht, is being rewarded instead of punished.
Last week during a commencement speech at the Columbia School of Journalism, veteran CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour blasted the network along with Licht for the Trump Town Hall, saying it was an “earthquake” and that she “respectfully disagree[d] with allowing Donald Trump to appear in that particular format.” Not only that, but she said she flew from London to the CNN NY headquarters to confront Licht about it and that the conversation was “robust.”
Amanpour’s comments were met with a groundswell of support from the likes of Anderson Cooper, Oliver Darcy, and Jake Tapper, with Darcy writing a glowing piece praising her rant. But it was CNN chief international investigative correspondent Nima Elbagir’s tweet that really started the show: “Speaking truth to power is a fundamental part of our job but to speak truth to the power that signs your checks? @amanpour showing everyone how it’s done.”
Speaking truth to power is a fundamental part of our job but to speak truth to the power that signs your checks? @amanpour showing everyone how it’s done 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 https://t.co/Vx2VLoQTUR
— Nima Elbagir (@nimaelbagir) May 18, 2023
Tons of CNN anchors and staffers then liked and retweeted her statement, and anchor Sara Sidner posted her own message of support, writing, “It seems they understand the words to be said and on what side the power lies.”
She’s a real one. @amanpour is the best of us. pic.twitter.com/i6rV3Qt8ia
— Sara Sidner (@sarasidnerCNN) May 18, 2023
So at CNN, thanks to people like Elbagir and Amanpour, the “power” clearly lies with their anchors and staff rather than their CEO. Despite this open rebellion, none of these people have faced any repercussions for their comments. In fact, they seem to be emboldened by the way their colleagues are rallying around Amanpour despite Licht’s ultimate decision making authority.
It’s been a rough couple of years for the network, which has seen its ratings plummet as well as the departure of long–time leader Jeff Zucker, thanks to a sex scandal. But if CNN’s staff is allowed to get away with openly questioning and criticizing their boss, the network is clearly out of control and the inmates are running the asylum.