CNN’s left-wing media reporter Oliver Darcy was scolded by his boss Chris Licht over his “emotional” coverage of the network’s Wednesday town hall with former President Trump.
Fox News Digital confirmed that Darcy was summoned for a meeting with Licht and other top CNN executives, who took exception to the overzealous framing of the fallout the network has received, particularly from liberals.
Darcy appeared to join the choir of CNN criticism in his “Reliable Sources” newsletter Wednesday night after the town hall.
“It can’t be based on emotion, it’s got to be based on fact,” a source familiar with Licht’s thinking told Fox News Digital about Darcy’s reporting.
The source said Licht received a “ton” of messages from CNN staffers appalled by Darcy’s newsletter, which emphasizes how CNN and Licht were facing tense backlash “internally” as well as externally.
The messages, according to the source, were like “what the f—.”
“I’m asking you to not be emotional,” the source paraphrased what Licht told Darcy at the meeting, adding that he wanted nonemotional coverage applied to all news outlets, not just CNN.
Puck News first reported that after Licht stood by the Trump town hall on CNN’s Thursday morning editorial call, he brought Darcy and his editor Jon Passantino in for a meeting later in the day. Darcy was then told by CNN’s top brass “his coverage had been too emotional and [Licht] 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,” Puck News’ Dylan Byers reported Friday.
A spokesperson for CNN declined to comment.
In his Wednesday newsletter, Darcy began, “It’s hard to see how America was served by the spectacle of lies that aired on CNN Wednesday evening.” He complained about how Trump “lied” about various topics during the town hall despite attempted fact-checks by CNN moderator Kaitlan Collins, yet “CNN aired it all.”
“On and on it went. It felt like 2016 all over again. It was Trump’s unhinged social media feed brought to life on stage. And Collins was put in an uncomfortable position, given the town hall was conducted in front of a Republican audience that applauded Trump, giving a sense of unintended endorsement to his shameful antics,” Darcy wrote. “Yes, some news was made… But for most of the night, the nation’s eyes were transfixed on Trump’s abuse of the platform that he was given.”
It is unclear whether the tone in Darcy’s reporting will shift following the scolding he received from Licht. Notably, Licht fired Darcy’s media colleague Brian Stelter and canceled CNN’s long-running program “Reliable Sources” last year. Darcy later took over the “Reliable Sources” newsletter, which had been authored by Stelter.
In the days leading up to and following the town hall, CNN was the target of left-wing critics blasting the network for giving Trump a platform, despite his status as the GOP frontrunner in the 2024 presidential race.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper attempted to defend the town hall while blasting the former president as well as the network’s critics.
“You have every right to be outraged and angry and never watch this network again. But do you think staying in your silo and only listening to people you agree with is going to make that person go away?” Cooper lectured his liberal viewers.