It has been one week since CNN’s town hall with Donald Trump — and the fierce fallout stemming from the event is still reverberating.
While accepting the prestigious Columbia Journalism Award and serving as the school’s 2023 commencement speaker, Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday became the first network anchor to publicly voice dissent with management over the town hall, which has spawned a storm of fierce backlash.
Amanpour, CNN’s chief international anchor, disclosed that she had met with CNN boss Chris Licht this week and that the two “had a very robust exchange of views” about the matter. She said that Licht “welcomed that exchange of views,” but stood by his decision to hold the town hall. Licht told staffers the morning after the event that he believed it was worthwhile because it woke people up to the stakes of the 2024 election.
After hearing out Licht, Amanpour told the Columbia Journalism School graduates that she had not been moved.
“I still respectfully disagree with allowing Donald Trump to appear in that particular format,” the veteran anchor said, contending that the American people had demonstrated with their votes in the last three elections that they are well aware of his behavior.
“I would have dropped the mic at ‘nasty person,’ but then that’s me,” Amanpour candidly added, recounting the moment when Trump lashed out at moderator Kaitlan Collins for asking a question that he did not like.
Inside CNN, Amanpour is far from alone in her views. In private, the town hall has been widely criticized by employees at all levels across the organization. Some of these employees believe that Trump wasn’t worthy of a town hall platform after leading the insurrection on the US Capitol and continuing to spew dangerous lies about the 2020 election. Others believe that it was a worthy endeavor to confront him, but that the event was poorly executed. [Continue reading…]