Trump Town Hall Fallout Hits CNN Media Reporter

Donald Trump and Kaitlan Collins at the CNN town hall event.

The fallout from CNN‘s Town Hall with Donald Trump last week continues. It seems that the scathing take from the outlet’s media reporter Oliver Darcy did not go down that well with the top brass, including channel chief Chris Licht.

A quick reminder – Darcy wrote in the Reliable Sources newsletter that “it’s hard to see how America was served by the spectacle of lies that aired on CNN Wednesday evening.” In my own newsletter reflecting on the event, I said:

Fair play to CNN for letting him put that out.

Well, it seems that things were perhaps not as simple as that. (The story involves Trump, so how could it be simple?) Dylan Byers at Puck reported:

Licht summoned Darcy and his editor Jon Passantino to a meeting with himself, CNN comms chief Kris Coratti, editorial executive vice president Virginia Moseley and senior vice president of global news Rachel Smolkin, in which they told him that his coverage had been too emotional and repeatedly stressed the importance of remaining dispassionate when covering the news, be it CNN or any other media organization.

Darcy stood by his work and pushed back on the “emotional” characterization, one source with knowledge of the meeting said. 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.

The Daily Beast’s media newsletter, Confider, noted that Darcy had gone quiet on social media since the incident. He did put out Monday’s edition of Reliable Sources and has also tweeted this (swivel eye emoji):

Confider also reported internal anger at a Fox News Digital article in which “a source familiar with Licht’s thinking” claimed that “Licht received a “ton” of messages from CNN staffers appalled by Darcy’s newsletter.” However, Confider‘s reporting uncovered quite the opposite.

“I heard zero complaints about Darcy’s newsletter—in fact, the opposite. People were glad someone was calling this out,” a CNN on-air personality added.

A couple of things worth noting. Firstly, station star Anderson Cooper defended the event during his show:

Secondly, Darcy was absolutely fastidious in not criticising Collins in the newsletter. Indeed, he praised what a good interviewer she is. Obviously, had he used a company platform to criticise his colleague would have been a whole different issue.

It’s not easy being a media reporter at a major media outlet…

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