CNN’s Chris Cuomo Scandal Is a Jeff Zucker Problem – Opinion

Jeff Zucker turned president of CNN Worldwide eight years in the past.

You need to perceive that CNN, whereas all the time providing a left-leaning bias, was far more news-centric earlier than he bought there. And whereas he promised that information was going to stay the central focus for the community, his plan for CNN was to supply “perspective and a take.” So what we’ve seen CNN turn out to be since 2013 is by design. It wasn’t just a few natural ideological realignment, however a compelled change on the community that had branded itself because the information you possibly can belief.

On Tuesday, I identified that a big a part of the media bias we see isn’t simply reporters’ and anchors’ personal leanings, however the need to build up extra viewers.

There’s a purpose that the media acts like this, and it goes past “They’re leftist partisan hacks.” There’s a purpose they didn’t wish to contact any of this. It’s all as a result of these folks know who butters their bread.

Information executives, account managers, and editors know that the purpose in journalism isn’t journalism. The purpose is to do it in a manner that will get eyes on the commercials of the individuals who pay them large bucks to get their advertisements on tv and in print. As I discussed yesterday, when Jeff Zucker got here to CNN, he introduced with him a background within the leisure trade. That introduced a brand new set of eyes to the viewers and helped the community develop. However a number of Zucker’s audience-building was geared toward people who find themselves naturally extra progressive. To maintain them, the programming needed to get extra progressive.

That’s the issue with information protection usually. It’s about viewers and promoting. Except you might be run by a non-profit, state-run, or privately funded, you might be on the mercy of the statistics and the cash luggage.

Mary Altaffer

Zucker’s resolution was initially to herald documentaries and docuseries to the community. They experimented with this throughout prime time slots, even. However finally, that didn’t collect sufficient of an viewers to continue to grow. So Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon turned prime time hosts, giving much more than simply “perspective and a take.” They got free rein to transcend the scope of reports and journalism and dive deep into straight-up activism. And that labored for a bit, although it got here on the expense of delegitimizing the extra straight information guys on the community.

Then alongside got here Donald J. Trump, and Zucker noticed his alternative.

He allowed Jim Acosta to turn out to be combative with the President and make the information about himself somewhat than the problem on the time. Acosta would later be rewarded with a internet hosting slot. Cuomo and Lemon have been untouchable, regardless of how unhinged their ranting turned. Brian Stelter’s job turned solely to assault Fox Information. Reporters and anchors got the prospect to indicate outright hostility towards a significant American occasion (far more so than they beforehand had) and there was nothing to maintain it in verify. The numbers have been on the rise. His technique was working.

After which COVID-19 occurred.

The protection turned hysterical. The activism elevated, the sloppy journalism elevated, and the accountability one way or the other decreased. As we now know, the Chris Cuomo scandal runs far deeper than even the harshest of critics believed.

In keeping with Information Cycle Media’s Jon Nicosia, Chris Cuomo is not going to be the final to be suspended at CNN. Nicosia’s supply is saying that Cuomo’s employees (producers, and so forth.) are being investigated by CNN regarding their assist with smearing Andrew Cuomo’s accusers.

So it seems to be prefer it’s not simply Chris concerned. If that is true, Cuomo put CNN in even deeper hassle by dragging in his employees. No marvel CNN immediately moved to droop Cuomo. One has to marvel how unhealthy it’s and what Chris could have been having the employees or others at CNN do in regard to the accusers or in protection of his brother.

It is a direct results of the environment established by Zucker at CNN. His perspective concerning increase the viewers somewhat than specializing in rising the standard of the journalism made an anchor really feel so untouchable that he might abuse his place to assist his politician brother cowl up a sexual harassment scandal and even go after the accusers. And he might get his present’s employees in on the soiled work.

To be truthful, Cuomo is the son of a robust former governor of New York and the brother of a robust governor of New York (till not too long ago, anyway). There was already a way of entitlement that allowed him to imagine he might get away with loads on and off the air. However Zucker’s lack of journalistic requirements in his administration allowed for Cuomo to routinely show his worst traits. He was consistently incorrect, combative to the purpose of it being private, and he was not held accountable for the clear breach of ethics that was having his brother on for a softball interview.

Had Zucker been remotely within the high quality of the journalism somewhat than the variety of viewers or the shares of a narrative on social media, he would have maybe put a cease to it. However his focus has all the time been on manufacturing and leisure. Notice that Zucker has by no means been held accountable for the Matt Lauer state of affairs, regardless of not solely being there however joking about it at a roast of Lauer later. Everybody knew about Lauer, and as somebody who was at NBC for many years, Zucker knew and did nothing.

That’s a part of the explanation I believe that Cuomo is out for good and the “indefinite suspension” is basically simply time to permit the 2 events to barter the phrases. Matt Lauer was a significant, main downside at NBC over time, and Zucker can’t haven’t recognized. To get away unscathed from that was absolute luck, but it surely’s not possible in a post-#MeToo period to anticipate to get away with one thing like that once more. Heads should roll, and Cuomo gained’t be the one one.

The opposite purpose I believe Cuomo is in the end fired is that his actions current a risk to Zucker’s repute and his imaginative and prescient of how issues must be run. Zucker put Cuomo in command of that prime time slot. He gave Cuomo a ton of freedom and no accountability. He fostered the environment that allowed it to occur. If Zucker desires to exit on prime when he lastly steps down, he’ll must be sure that his legacy on the community isn’t too stained with stuff like this. Examples must be made.

Freedom and democracy can’t survive with out a free and open press, and Zucker’s imaginative and prescient isn’t a couple of free and open press. It’s about leisure and getting cash. Sure, journalism does want cash to function, however when the main focus isn’t on the journalism facet of that enterprise, journalism simply isn’t occurring. As an alternative, you get fixed scandals like this.

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