That Was Quick: CNN’s Jake Tapper Says ‘Things Are Pretty Good Now’ Post-Chris Licht

The longtime anchor dishes to Kara Swisher about improved culture amid leadership shake-up

Jake Tapper, WarnerMedia Upfront 2019 - Arrivals
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CNN’s Jake Tapper says the network’s “morale hasn’t been better in years,” in the aftermath of Chris Licht’s ouster.

Tapper joined Kara Swisher’s podcast to promote his new book “All the Demons Are Here” but ended up delving into the atmosphere at CNN in the post-Licht era.

Licht, who was chosen to assume the position of CEO and Chairman of CNN Worldwide by Warner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav himself, was ousted from the network last month. Succeeding former CEO Jeff Zucker, Licht’s tenure at the network was marred by controversy including a failed morning show overhaul, mass layoffs and a widely disputed town hall featuring former President Donald Trump.

“I have known Chris for a long time,” said Tapper. CNN’s chief Washington correspondent said he was “excited” when Licht joined the network, but wished it was not at the expense of Zucker.

“Our north star here at CNN has always been the journalism, not preaching to the choir,” he said. “We are not an entertainment company with a news division. We are a news company.”

When asked how CNN is coping with leadership adjustments, Tapper said “We are good now.”

“I’m not here to judge whether the firing was the right thing to do. I’m bummed that it didn’t work out with Chris,” Tapper continued. “But I will say that things are really good right now.”

CNN will be managed in the interim by a group of four veteran executives, Amy Entelis, Virginia Moseley, Eric Sherling, and David Leavy.

They have Tapper’s full support who says “they are doing a great job,” so far by focusing more on CNN-produced journalism, “not on palace intrigue.”