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CNN chief hopes to avoid 'heat' from Trump-Biden debate

CNN CEO Mark Thompson said the network hopes to host an enlightening but not vulgar debate between President Biden and former President Trump on Thursday.

“For us, it was kind of a big deal to get it,” Thompson said. Said The New York Times reported that “much of the reaction from the public, other media and other politicians will depend on the stars of the show: President Trump and President Biden.”

Thompson, who became CNN’s chief executive officer last fall, said the format of Thursday’s showdown was “done in a way that was designed, at least in principle, to let in as much light as possible and not be overwhelmed by heat.”

CNN said microphones would be muted during the debate except when it was a candidate’s turn to speak, and that hosts Jake Tapper and Dana Bash would be given the authority to “take all necessary steps to ensure a punctual and respectful debate,” the outlet said.

CNN has come under heavy criticism this week from the Trump campaign, which has accused the network of being biased against the former president and that he regularly mocks the network.

The outrage was ignited after CNN morning anchor Casey Hunt cut off an interview with Trump press secretary Caroline Leavitt when she tried to attack Tapper and Bash.

Following the barrage of criticism against Tapper and Bash, CNN released a statement on Monday afternoon defending the two longtime cable news anchors, saying they “couldn’t be better suited to co-facilitate a substantive, fact-based discussion.”

The debate, broadcast by CNN from Atlanta, is expected to be watched by tens of millions of people, with simulcast on several other national news networks and millions more streaming it online.

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