CNN Head's Blunder Raises Eyebrows Ahead of Layoffs

The divisive leadership at CNN possibly committed a huge blunder amid numerous layoffs and focus shifts at the news channel and its parent company.  According to Puck News, CNN CEO Chris Licht faced plenty of scrutiny over his company decisions in recent weeks, his latest being the shuttering of HLN. But during a recent town hall, the CNN travel freeze on any non-essential ventures was brought up and put Licht's travel in the spotlight.

"That doesn't mean we can't do business, or mean we can't be able to do our jobs," Licht said during the town hall. "I'm traveling. I'm going to the Abu Dhabi bureau. I have a bunch of sales meetings. The business has to keep going on."

But as Puck adds, Licht neglected to mention that he would have his family along for the trip part of the time and he will likely attend the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi over the weekend. His representatives denied he would attend, telling Puck that Licht declined an invitation to the racing event. Still, sources told the outlet that Licht would attend the race if there is a business case to bring him to the event.

Puck also adds that Liberty Global, controlled by Warner Bros. Discovery board member John Malone, is the owner of Formula 1, raising a few eyebrows. Dylan Byers with Puck adds on Twitter that the level of scrutiny on the trip and the involvement of his family led to him scuttling those plans to fly back to the U.S. early.

None of this is helpful to the morale at CNN, where tightening the belt and shifting the on-air talent has torpedoed any successes the network had over the past few years. Not only did CNN attempt to move Jake Tapper to prime time with disastrous results, but they also shuffled veteran CNN fixture, Wolf Blitzer, around without much reason given. Byers writes, Licht attended a party for restaurant Cafe Milano's 30th anniversary, which was seen as a slight against Blitzer who was called in to work the Thursday and Friday night telecasts.

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On top of that, Tapper was allowed to skip out on his lead anchor responsibilities to attend an event at Dartmouth College, his alma mater. "The last thing I want to be is another gut punch," Licht said at the town hall. "And I know what I'm doing right now is another gut punch."