Chris Licht has led CNN as its top executive for less than a year. But one of the most surprising aspects of his new job, he recently admitted, is the "uninformed vitriol" of the left.
Speaking with the New York Times in a wide-ranging interview about his tenure as CEO of CNN, Licht called progressive reaction to his leadership "stunning."
"The uninformed vitriol, especially from the left, has been stunning," Licht told the Times. "Which proves my point: So much of what passes for news is name-calling, half-truths, and desperation."
Since officially assuming control of CNN in May, Licht has been on a mission to transform CNN into a reputable news outlet. To achieve his goal, Licht has cut overly partisan personalities, made significant programming changes, and initiated layoffs.
In August, Licht promised that growing pains would result in changes that existing employees will not like.
"I want to acknowledge that this is a time of significant change, and I know that many of you are unsettled," Licht told CNN employees at the time. "There will be more changes and you might not understand it or like it."
The most recent change included laying off hundreds of employees to slash as much as $100 million from CNN's budget. Licht told the New York Times that the layoffs were the "low point" of his tenure as CEO.
One of the more interesting revelations to come from his interview with the Times is that Licht's former boss, late-night TV host Stephen Colbert, advised Licht not to accept the officer to become CEO of CNN.
"Definitely don’t go do that," Colbert recalled telling Licht in February.
Now, Colbert reportedly routinely reminds Licht during their weekly phone conversations that he believes he was right. According to the Times, Colbert begins each conversation with the same four words, "I told you so."