Following the airing of CNN’s town hall with former President Trump Wednesday evening, many bloviating pontificators in the liberal media registered their outrage at the network for daring to give the Republican candidate a platform. A surprising voice to register their disproval came from inside CNN’s house in the form of senior media reporter Oliver Darcy via the so-called “Reliable Sources” Newsletter. According to reporting from Puck News on Friday, CNN boss Chris Licht responded to Darcy’s insubordination by putting “the fear of God into him.”
With the dust still settling from the rowdy event, Darcy clutched his pearls into diamonds as he fired off the newsletter proclaiming this at the top: “It's hard to see how America was served by the spectacle of lies that aired on CNN Wednesday evening.”
He touted the performance of his colleague Kaitlan Collins by calling her “as tough and knowledgable [sic] of an interviewer as they come. She fact-checked Trump throughout the 70-minute town hall.”
After rattling off Trump’s transgressions, Darcy lamented that “CNN aired it all.” He was disgusted by what CNN allowed to happen on stage in front of the world. “Yes, some news was made … But for most of the night, the nation's eyes were transfixed on Trump's abuse of the platform that he was given,” he decried.
Darcy even called Licht out by name. “CNN and new network boss Chris Licht are facing a fury of criticism — both internally and externally over the event,” he stated, airing their laundry and leaving it an open-ended question of how Licht would respond to criticism.
Well, according to former CNN media reporter Dylan Byers, Darcy would soon learn how Licht dealt with critics firsthand.
“On Thursday, Licht declared in the 9 a.m. meeting that he ‘absolutely, unequivocally’ believed ‘America was served very well by what we did last night’—a direct rebuke to Darcy’s thesis and lede,” Byers reported.
Darcy would later be called into a private meeting with Licht and several of CNN’s top executives, among them “CNN comms chief Kris Coratti, editorial executive vice president Virginia Moseley and senior vice president of global news Rachel Smolkin,” to have words. They reportedly scolded him for being “too emotional” in his reporting on the town hall and told him he needed to be “dispassionate,”
One source Byers spoke with suggested Darcy bravely stood his ground as he pushed back against their criticism. “But afterward two sources who heard about the meeting described him as visibly shaken. ‘They put the fear of God into him,’ one source said,” he relayed.
But “the thirty-something media reporter” may be Licht’s easier protruding nail to hammer down. Byer also noted that longtime CNN veterans were also bucking the network. “The vestiges of the Old CNN were on full display the moment the town hall ended—when a somber Anderson Cooper and Jake Tapper tried to beat back against the torrent of lies that had just aired on their network, and further still in the funereal pall that settled over Tapper’s post-game panel,” Byers recalled.
What’s obvious from Puck’s reporting was that the Jeff Zucker weed runs deep and it would require a lot of work from Licht to pluck it out root and branch.