Anderson Cooper discussed former CNN CEO Chris Licht’s ouster from the network, saying he’s still not entirely sure what his goal was.
Licht was fired in June, just over a year after he assumed the top role at CNN. His tenure with the network was marred by poorly received programming decisions, plummeting advertising revenue, and a controversial live town hall with Donald Trump.
Cooper, when asked in an interview with the The New York Times if Licht felt as though CNN needed a realignment to capture more viewers, replied that he doesn’t “have much confidence” that he actually knows what Licht was thinking at the time.
Which according to Cooper was a “problem,” for the network. “I read things in the paper, but I’m not sure what the point of it all was,” the veteran CNN host said.
“I met with Chris and had a general sense of what the concern was,” Cooper continued. “I don’t want to be unfair. I understood what the idea and the vision was.”
As a part of CNN, Cooper wants the network to “do well” and be “respected,” however, he tries to “worry about stuff I actually have my hands on. For me, it’s the show that I work on.”
“My sense from Chris was there was not a lot we needed to hash out because I’m not an opinion host,” Cooper noted. “I’m talking to people from different sides and trying to be straight down the middle and represent things fairly and accurately.”
“I keep my head down,” Cooper said.
According to the CNN host, he had a meeting with Licht when he first started his role as CEO for the network, and “touched base from time to time,” but did not have “a ton of communications.”
When asked about CNN’s notorious town hall with Trump, Cooper said for the former president’s return to the network, he “wouldn’t have done a town hall.” However, Cooper noted that it was not his decision to make and he “wasn’t involved.” He did try to quell the backlash in the aftermath, however, addressing critics as people who “haven’t been paying attention since he left office” and who are “enjoying not hearing from him.” Critics of the town hall, Cooper said on air, are perhaps “thinking ‘it can’t happen again, some investigation is gonna stop him’? Well, it hasn’t so far.”
Last week, CNN announced their new CEO, former New York Times, and BBC chief, Mark Thompson, who is credited with turning the Times into a successful digital media company.
Ross A. Lincoln contributed to this report.