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Does CNN's Incoming Boss Condone Assaulting Fox News' Journalists?

AP Photo/Ron Harris

CNN's incoming president Chris Licht appears to be okay with the suggestion of slapping a Fox News journalist over questions posed to President Joe Biden about Russia's war on Ukraine.


Licht, the current producer of "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," is set to take over at CNN next month but has failed to nix a portion of Colbert's scripts that include attacks on Fox News reporters and conservative media figures.

On Tuesday, Colbert called Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy a "ridiculous man" and suggested the reporter be slapped for questions he asked Biden.

"Remember how on last night's show I said that slapping is never, ever the answer? I'd like to file a one-time exception on behalf of the president of the United States," Colbert said, referring to his comments the night before about actor Will Smith slapping comedian Chris Rock at Sunday's Academy Awards.

Colbert's remark about slapping Doocy came after a video clip was played of the Fox News reporter asking Biden to elaborate on what he meant when he previously said that chemical weapons used by Russia would prompt a U.S. response "in kind."

"When you said a chemical weapon used by Russia would trigger a response in kind," Doocy said.

Biden replied, "It will trigger a significant response."

Doocy asked, "What does that mean?"

The president then explained, "I'm not going to tell you. Why would I tell you? You have got to be silly."


Doocy said, "The world wants to know."

Biden responded, "The world wants to know a lot of things, I'm not telling them what the response would be. Then Russia knows the response."

After the clip of the exchange between Doocy and Biden had finished, Colbert continued to criticize the reporter.

Colbert, pretending to be Doocy, said sarcastically, "Uh, Peter Doocy, Fox News. I've got two more questions. First, what are the exact locations of all of America's troops? And can you give me the nuclear launch codes?" 

The show in which Licht is still producing launching attacks on Fox News comes after the veteran media executive reportedly called for a ceasefire between CNN and Fox.

And recently, Colbert's show has also struggled to beat Fox's late-night comedy show, "Gutfeld!," in the ratings.

According to Neilson Media Research, "Gutfeld!" garnered more than 2.2 million viewers on March 30 compared to Colbert's 1.8 million.

Colbert's criticism of media figures, however, is not reserved exclusively for Fox News. 


The late-night host on Thursday railed against CBS, which airs his show, for the network's recent decision to hire former Trump aid Mick Mulvaney.

"I for one can't wait to hear Mulvaney's trenchant and objective political analysis considering that back in 2020, he suggested that 'coronavirus was the media hoax of the day,' and after his boss extorted [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky] for dirt on the Bidens, he said, 'Get over it.'"

While working for the Trump administration, Mulvaney had accused the media of trying to end the Trump presidency with its early COVID pandemic coverage. Mulvaney also told reporters to "get over it" after then-President Donald Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine following allegations that the 45th president asked Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden.

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