Anderson Cooper Buries Chris Licht’s CNN Vision: ‘I’m Not Sure What The Point of It All Was’

Anderson Cooper and Chris Licht

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

CNN’s Anderson Cooper spoke to David Marchese at The New York Times about a number of topics, from grief, to coming out, to his time at CNN. But when the subject of former CNN CEO Chris Licht came up, Cooper didn’t have much to say that was positive. While he stated he didn’t want to be “unfair” to Licht, it seems like there was a lack of clarity and communication between the exec and the cabler’s star anchor.

Licht was ousted from CNN in early June, not long after the controversial town hall broadcast with former President Donald Trump and a damning profile of Licht in The Atlantic by Tim Alberta. Licht was brought in to shake things up at CNN, which he did — just not to any positive effect. The town hall with Trump was roundly criticized by some of CNN’s own personalities, though several also defended it, including Cooper. That said, this exchange between Marchese and Cooper reveals that the anchor was never totally on board with Licht:

Marchese: My understanding is that Chris Licht’s analysis of what needed to change at CNN was that CNN represented something, and that there was a cohort of viewers out there that the network could get if its coverage were realigned. Is that a thesis you disagree with?

Cooper: I don’t know what Chris Licht’s analysis was. I don’t have much confidence that I actually know what he was thinking.

Marchese: That’s a problem, right?

Cooper: Yeah, that’s a problem. I mean, I read things in the paper, but I’m not sure what the point of it all was.

Marchese: So at no point did anybody communicate “this is what we’re doing now” to one of the most high-profile anchors at CNN?

Cooper: I met with Chris and had a general sense of what the concern was. I don’t want to be unfair. I understood what the idea and the vision was. Obviously I am a part of CNN, so I want CNN to do well and be respected, but I try to worry about stuff I actually have my hands on. For me, it’s the show that I work on. That is my priority, and I do whatever I can to make that as good as I can. 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. I keep my head down. I just try to do the best I can. I don’t need to have a lot of meetings with anybody who comes in. With Chris, I had a meeting with him when he first started and touched base from time to time, but we didn’t have a ton of communications.

Marchese continued to ask about bias in the cable news business, a question that seemed to rankle Cooper.

“This is going to sound like a cop-out, but none of this stuff particularly interests me,” the CNN anchor said.

“This is the future of your job! How could it not interest you?” Marchese replied.

Read his answer at The New York Times.

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