Tensions within CNN over coverage of former President Donald J. Trump burst into the open on Thursday during an internal call with the network’s journalists, as an executive candidly questioned the approach of the channel’s new chief executive, Mark Thompson.
CNN aired roughly 10 minutes of Mr. Trump’s victory speech after he won the Iowa caucuses on Monday before cutting away. The decision to cut him off prompted derision from the former president and his allies, although critics on the left questioned why CNN had taken Mr. Trump live in the first place, given his tendency to spread falsehoods and conspiracies. MSNBC chose not to take any of his remarks live.
Mr. Thompson opened his morning conference call on Thursday by acknowledging a debate within his newsroom, saying he believed the network had a journalistic obligation to broadcast the remarks of the leading Republican candidate for president.
After a period of silence, a senior vice president of programming, Jim Murphy, jumped in, telling Mr. Thompson that the network had given Mr. Trump too much airtime when the network aired Mr. Trump’s live news conference last week after his civil fraud trial. Mr. Murphy said that CNN should cover Mr. Trump’s comments when he makes news, not when he is repeating political talking points.