The Atlantic’s Friday profile of the embattled CEO profile Chris Licht drew cringes at Hudson Yards — but also anger over Licht’s criticism of the network’s award-winning pandemic coverage.
“In the beginning it was a trusted source—this crazy thing, no one understands it, help us make sense of it. What’s going on?” Licht said. “And I think then it got to a place where, ‘Oh wow, we gotta keep getting those ratings. We gotta keep getting the sense of urgency.’”
“People walked outside and they go, ‘This is not my life. This is not my reality. You guys are just saying this because you need the ratings, you need the clicks. I don’t trust you,’” he said.
The network won multiple prizes for its coverage of Covid-19, including the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s Cronkite/Jackson Prize, which was awarded to Dr. Sanjay Gupta for his coverage “correcting Covid-19 misinformation.”
But Licht’s criticism was drawn from CNN’s own research.
Last year, CNN commissioned a survey examining viewer trust and the places where CNN was succeeding and falling short with viewers across the ideological spectrum. According to a partial copy of the report, which hasn’t been revealed before, CNN’s coverage of Covid-19 was the third leading cause of distrust in the network behind liberal bias and “the Chris Cuomo situation.”
Survey respondents of all ideological stripes criticized the network’s “overly dramatic and sensational” and “dire” reporting, the report said.