Best long read of my week - so far.
This is a very deep investigative piece about CNN and the corruption under Zucker’s rule. Prepare to think less of CNN by the end of this read than you do upon reading this sentence I am typing:
1) $WBD owns CNN
May the new team rid CNN of all the circle jerk opinionators and just get back to straight news. And may they never hire another ex-politician or ex-politician family member again. Stop the cronyism.
Very good read on CNN’s downfall:
Zucker was ousted from CNN on Feb. 2, 2022, citing a previously unreported affair with Gollust. The relationship was unearthed amid an internal investigation into CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who was fired last December for helping his brother navigate sexual-misconduct allegations. But, as was revealed days later in a statement by WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, that probe turned up not only Zucker and Gollust’s affair, but also violations of journalistic best practices around the couple’s cozy relationship with the governor. The initial suggestion was that these failings were recent — lapses that took place during the extraordinary times of the pandemic. But according to dozens of former colleagues who spoke with Rolling Stone, they marked the culmination of Zucker’s three-plus decades spent in a craven pursuit of ratings and power, a career that would foster a toxic culture at two networks and fan the flames of the disinformation age along the way.
At NBC, Zucker put Trump in front of millions of American eyeballs for 14 seasons, positioning him as a lovably irascible titan of business and effectively turning The Apprentice into a shadow campaign for the future leader of the free world. It was a union spawned in 2003, when Trump was a semifailed businessman looking for an image overhaul, and Zucker, then president of NBC Entertainment, was apparently eager to acquiesce. To cross-promote that show, he installed Trump as a regular guest on Today, where he was exalted like a Nobel laureate before an audience of America’s stay-at-home moms. And, of course, Zucker presided over Matt Lauer’s heyday, when the Today anchor preyed on vulnerable young staffers, seemingly with no fear.
By the time he got to CNN, Zucker was both kingmaker and king. He brought in on-air talent like Clarissa Ward and, more recently, Chris Wallace; launched landmark docuseries like Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown; and turned a moribund digital news operation into a scoop machine. He also made a $6-million-a-year star of his close friend Chris Cuomo, who has since been accused of sexual misconduct in addition to journalistic missteps. (Cuomo denies the sexual-assault and harassment allegations, and maintains that any ethical transgressions were sanctioned by Zucker and Gollust.) Zucker bucked conflict-of-interest protocol to have Chris interview his brother, shamelessly capitalizing on Andrew’s rising national profile during the pandemic. All the while, sources say, Zucker was conducting his affair with his subordinate, Gollust, in plain sight, bringing her from one network to the other, promoting her — and approving her compensation — at every stage of his ascension. She was a key player in Cuomogate, providing talking points to the governor — for whom she worked briefly between stints with Zucker — and relaying his preferred topics to CNN producers, including on that day in March 2020. It was all, sources say, part of a pattern of behavior Zucker had been nurturing for years.