CNN’s senior media reporter Oliver Darcy delivered a somber and rather brutal take in Monday’s Reliable Sources newsletter about the Chris Licht situation. Darcy spoke with a variety of his CNN colleagues on Monday for his piece, getting their thoughts on the apology their beleaguered chief executive gave for sentiments he expressed in the now-infamous Atlantic profile.
After hearing Licht’s apology , Darcy noted that staffers were frustrated, angry, and sad at how things are playing out in public for an organization they are so passionate about.
Licht, for his part, said that he would “fight like hell” to win back the trust of those who have lost favor with him, and according to Semafor Max Tani’s Licht started those efforts by speaking to an executive producer from the health team to explain “his critical comments about CNN’s coverage of the pandemic.”
Darcy, in his newsletter, points out that Warner Bros. Discovery head David Zaslav has not been amused by all these developments, adding, “[Zaslav] had the same reaction that everyone else did to that article, a person familiar with the WBD chief’s thinking told me. A second person familiar with Zaslav’s thinking said the WBD boss was not happy about The Atlantic story and that he is not blind to what is transpiring at CNN.”
Meanwhile, The Daily Beast’s Confider reports that newly installed COO David Leavy has been busy calling CNN talent as he looks to soothe things over. According to the Confider, personalities including Jake Tapper, Wolf Blitzer, and Erin Burnett have lost confidence in Licht.
Among the units Leavy will now directly oversee is the CNN public relations department, the leaders of which played an integral role in allowing The Atlantic unprecedented access to its chief executive. This access was meant to show a positive side of Licht, who has had a rough first year, but it backfired, ultimately leading to the latest crisis for the news network that is supposed to cover the news and not be constantly in the news.