CEO Chris Licht felt he was on a mission to restore the network’s reputation for serious journalism. How did it all go wrong?
Updated at 11:34 a.m. ET on June 7, 2023.
“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.