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Tipsheet

CNN CEO Chris Licht Defends Decision to Host Trump Town Hall After Staffers Erupt In Fury

Liberals hopped on the anti-Trump train again after the former president had a successful night putting the Democrats in their place during CNN's town hall. 

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Both Trump and the Left-leaning network faced heavy scrutiny claiming they spread lies and disinformation about everything from the 2020 election to the January 6 Capitol Hill protests. 

During an editorial call over Trump's appearance, the network's employees expressed "fury" with CEO Christ Licht. 

Oliver Darcy wrote in CNN's "Reliable Sources" newsletter that Trump was given a platform to serve lies on the network.

"CNN aired it all. On and on it went. It felt like 2016 all over again," Darcy wrote. "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 questioned whether Licht would regret his decision over Trump's successful town hall, who regularly mocked the network as "fake news." 

However, Licht defended the move Thursday morning during a call with staffers. 

According to former CNN host Brian Stetler, fired by Licht last year, the network's CEO said: "You do not have to like the former president's answers, but you can't say that we didn't get them. While we all may have been uncomfortable hearing people clapping, that was also an important part of the story… America was served very well by what we did last night."

CNN commentator Adam Kinzinger called the event an "absolute joke," while former CNN reporter Rebecca Buck said, "I don't think [Jeff] Zucker (CNN's former boss) would have let this happen." 

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Kinzinger also told his colleague Jake Tapper on-air, "As somebody who spent the last two years countering the lies, I'm not going to pretend like it was easy for me to see the former president get this forum tonight — to lie to the American people over and over and over again."

However, the Trump town hall received over three million total views, outweighing the network's average of 703,000, about five times higher than CNN's typical performance. 

In addition, squad queen Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) bashed CNN for "platforming" the former president, allowing him to directly make his case to the American people, adding that they made a "series of extremely irresponsible decisions."

"I know you said you would not comment on the platforming of such atrocious disinformation, but I would. I think it was a profoundly irresponsible decision. I don't think I would be doing my job if I did not say that. What we saw tonight was a series of extremely irresponsible decisions that put a sexual abuse victim at risk, that put that person at risk in front of a national audience. I could not have disagreed with it more. It was shameful," AOC said during an interview on MSNBC. 

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