It’s Always an Open Secret in the Media – Opinion

In the wake of the Jeff Zucker ousting, one of the most common refrains you see from various media types is that the relationship between the former CNN head and Allison Gollust was an “open secret” in the media world.

It’s as though it being an “open secret” somehow makes it better. Gollust was literally a former Andrew Cuomo aide who then spent an incredible amount of energy getting the former governor’s people to let him continue coming on his brother’s CNN show.

CNN’s chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter, mentioned when the news first broke that the CNN family was “stunned” at the firing. He would write in his media column that the firing was over a “consensual relationship with a key lieutenant.” The relationship itself wasn’t a surprise to anyone, except to the outside group investigating the Chris Cuomo matter.

When the horrifying details of Matt Lauer’s sexual antics at NBC became known, some of the initial responses were that it was a well-known “open secret.” Zucker himself made jokes about it at the Lauer roast years earlier. Between hush-money and quietly understoods, it seems that there is always some major scandal that every person in media and entertainment knew of.

It took comedian Hannibal Buress going off on Bill Cosby’s behavior in a viral stand-up routine to get dozens of women to come forward and make public what everyone in the entertainment world apparently knew. It was a shocking revelation that most Americans didn’t know about and they were rightfully shocked. But, Hollywood seemed to not be too concerned.

Harvey Weinstein’s unconscionable behavior continued as people who benefited from his influence looked the other way or stayed quiet about what he was doing to women. One journalist was all it took to bring dozens upon dozens women forward. Because Weinstein is still a strong figure, we will not know how many knew.

In the entertainment world, it’s always an open secret. It seems like it’s never a genuine shock that some of these people are morally bankrupt, corrupt, or even monsters. Rarely does a news story cause shock to those closest to it.

If Zucker’s relationship was such an open secret, why wasn’t it reported on by the media reporters who track these things? The people whose jobs are to tell their audience about what’s going on behind the scenes in the media, good, bad, or ugly. It was so obvious, but why did it remain secret? Especially in the light of CNN’s Cuomo scandal, in which CNN and its media analysts were actively involved in cover-up?

You will continue to see “insider” stories coming out about CNN because the damage done by the Cuomo scandal hasn’t been fully realized. But it’s still coming. One can’t help but wonder, though, if perhaps any sort of reporting of these “open secrets” in media might have prevented some of these scandals. It’s worth considering.

All this is a sign of something more: Was this really what caused Zucker’s firing? The reaction from folks at CNN makes you think there’s something more to it. I mean, if this was an “open secret,” then Zucker’s bosses surely knew and did nothing about it. It seems that there is more to the story.

Still, that doesn’t take away from the fact that this “open secret” is really just proof that “media reporters” at these major outlets really aren’t doing their jobs. They’re providing cover for their outlets. They’re PR flacks, not journalists, and their inability to be more than that is likely going to cause CNN a lot of pain in the coming weeks.

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