Don’t do it. They did it. See! They told you. CNN’s backlash starts

Dr David Dunkley Gyimah
3 min readMay 11


Photo by Rubaitul Azad on Unsplash

Many people, including those within the corporation, commented it would not be a good idea, but execs pressed ahead anyway. Today in the TV exec land of CNN, how much to be a fly on the wall?

I’ve worked in TV for a considerable period, and I’ll paint a likely scenario in CNN, albeit I’ve never worked there.

The Trump Town hall would have some journalists cowering when it was likely mentioned. Then there would be those seeing it as a career-enhancing move.

They’d lobby execs, and the CEO Chris Licht about what they could do that no other journalist has managed live. That is to hold Trump to account. That’s the fallacy and so the contest begins with finally execs opting for Kaitlin Collins, a former White House Correspondent, and hence the right chops. She’s also touted as a rising star.

I’d imagine she had copious advice, but she knew her lane, where to push back. Meanwhile execs were busying laying the frame work for the interview.

One thing TV does is plan. They plan, and plan, and plan. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a stand-in Trump with likely answers to her questions.

Exes would have known Trump will push his line about Jan 6th. And there would be other things he’ll refute; the recent outcome of news concerning E Jean Carroll winning her case she was sexually abused — just one of them.

Execs would have known. They were prepared, but the outcome was a series of TV mistakes after another. No live fact checkers and the audience was raucous Trump supporters which appears to be a precondition (see Twitter thread here).

So the night after the event, that fly might be observing CEO Chris Licht and team pleased at themselves. Pleased? Yes! Hard to imagine, because CNN is gaining huge publicity (even if it’s being criticised) and after some days its train crash won’t be as prominent an issue as it is today.

[Inserted] I read this later after this post

So why might CNN have gone with this, and how do you make your feelings known in a way that holds networks like CNN to account?

CNN’s former CEO Jeff Zucker was open about Trump being good for business. “One billion dollars profit? Yes, the campaign has been a gusher for CNN”, wrote the Washington Post in 2016.

Ergo the new CNN CEO is laying the path just as his predecessor had. But the conditions since 2016 have profoundly changed. CNN’s platforming and hence its lack of due diligence seems reckless and irresponsible. And yet so what if social media is awash with a backlash?

Money and services is where it matters. If you know the story of the Essex Pub and its racist doll collection you can draw lessons. If advertisers, suppliers and customers withdraw their services, that’s when it truly matters.

Experts often like to draw parallels between democracy and journalism. Good journalism is the guardrail on democracy. Democracy however is an evolving organic entity; it requires constant vigilance, hence when it changes, journalism has to as well. The much we know is that Journalism has often found itself wanting. But there are exemplars. This is Krishnan Guru-Murthy ensuring a politician is kept honest



Dr David Dunkley Gyimah

Creative Technologist & Associate Professor. International Award Winner Cinema journalist. Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled Top Writer,