Anderson Cooper: CNN Was ‘Hurt by All the Drama’ of Licht, But It’s ‘Back on Track’

News & Politics

In a new interview for a cover story in People magazine, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper talked about the brief Chris Licht era, that “morale was hurt by all the drama, and that’s unfortunate, but I think things feel like they are back on track.”

Cooper says incoming CEO Mark Thompson “sounds great.” He said  “It’s never great to be in a place where you read the paper in the morning and there are stories about where you’re working.” 

None of this was actually in the magazine (it was online). The cover story was all about Cooper’s “bliss” with his two young preschool sons at age 56…as well as some plugs for Cooper’s podcast and his forthcoming book on the Astor family.

People writer Eric Andersson only raised CNN in the magazine to discuss how having little kids affects his coverage of mass shootings and disasters, and then if he’s “choosier” about going out on location shoots. He also asked Cooper: “You became a meme for your eyeroll when you interviewed Donald Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway in 2017. Have your boys rolled their eyes at you yet?”

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Two weeks ago, Cooper was more candid in the New York Times Magazine about his distaste for Licht’s apparent crusade for a less crusading approach to Trump and the news. “I don’t know what Chris Licht’s analysis was. I don’t have much confidence that I actually know what he was thinking….I mean, I read things in the paper, but I’m not sure what the point of it all was.”

When asked if Licht failed to explain his vision to his stars, Cooper acknowledged he understood it. But hey, Cooper thinks he’s objective!

My sense from Chris was there was not a lot we needed to hash out because I’m not an opinion host. I’m talking to people from different sides and trying to be straight down the middle and represent things fairly and accurately.”

Oh, sure! He’s not an “opinion host”! Eye-rolling at Kellyanne isn’t performative for liberals, it suggests “straight down the middle.” He continued: 

Do I, as a viewer, watch hyperpartisan content? I don’t. Do I, as a journalist, want to be in the business of hyperpartisan broadcasting? No, I don’t. 

Later, the Times followed up: “You said you play it “down the middle.” Is that approach to TV news an anachronism?” Cooper quickly grew bored: “This is going to sound like a cop-out, but none of this stuff particularly interests me.”

It’s a cop-out. Let’s guess he wanted to say he was “not an opinion host,” and not be pushed too hard on it, and he didn’t want to end up criticizing other CNN hosts. 

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