September 12, 2020

"Going more negative while increasing the raw amount of attention — 'copious coverage and aggressive coverage' — allowed networks to retain or even increase the monster ratings Trump offered..."

"... without earning the social opprobrium that came with giving him softball coverage. [CNN president Jeff] Zucker loved Trump for the same reason baseball owners once loved the juiced-up homers hit by Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire: he put butts in seats. He just can’t afford to be seen loving Trump. In another part of the tape, Zucker tried to explain to Cohen the facts of life. One can almost see him wrapping a fatherly arm around [Michael] Cohen’s shoulder: 'Here’s the thing… you cannot be elected president of the United States without CNN. Fox and MSNBC are irrelevant — irrelevant — in electing a general election candidate. You guys have had great instincts, great guts and great understanding of everything... But you're missing the boat on how it works going forward.' Zucker here was trying to play kingmaker, and doing it for real, not as an act of sabotage....  The irony is Trump won in spite of CNN, and it was CNN that ended up changing its tune, not Trump. There may be some genuine political belief behind CNN’s drift in the direction of 'irrelevant' MSNBC, but don’t be fooled into thinking that’s the whole story.... Does CNN feel guilty about the record ratings and billions in revenue the Trump era’s earned them? Just listen to the tape. As a business, they’re more than fond of 'the boss.' They just can’t have us knowing it."

From "Tape shows: ethically, CNN chief a little shaky/A conversation between Jeff Zucker and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen removes all doubt: our hated president is a beloved commodity to network executives" by Matt Taibbi.

20 comments:

tim maguire said...

They love the phenomenon of Trump, but if he’s suggesting that they are therefore supporters of the politician Trump, that they are not something Trump has to fight against, to overcome to be successful, then he’s getting too carried away with his clever idea, too much in love with his theory to ask the really hard questions about whether or not it’s true.

Fernandinande said...

ethically, CNN chief a little shaky

Gee, ya think?!?

rhhardin said...

He should mention women, the target of this stuff.

Quayle said...

Who cares if we sow discord and destroy the fabric of our democratic republic - did you see last quarter‘S P&L?!?! Our top line and margin is stratospheric!!!

Nick said...

This is all predicated on the theory that anyone still watches CNN. The numbers say otherwise.

Birkel said...

For some definitions of the word "our".

Matt Sablan said...

That was part of Hillary Clinton's actual campaign plan, mind you. Operation Pied Piper, wasn't it? The media gets a gold mine of hate clicks/watching for pushing an unelectable Republican, and Hillary Clinton gets the presidency. After she failed spectacularly, the media just decided to keep a good thing going.

Temujin said...

I love the line, "...you cannot be elected president of the United States without CNN. Fox and MSNBC are irrelevant — irrelevant — in electing a general election candidate."

In a typical quarter, CNN has 1/4 the views of Fox News. 25% of their viewership. Of that number, how much is pumped up by every airport TV having it tuned in? And of those numbers, how many in the airport look at it and just shake their heads and wonder who could watch such stuff?

I think the Trump people are OK with not gaining the coveted Alisyn Camerota audience.

Rory said...

The thing is, they can't act like these were independent cynical decisions. It was driven by the DNC and the Clinton campaign.

exhelodrvr1 said...

A reverse example of “The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.” ?

MadTownGuy said...

I was saying this in November 2016. The news outlets were soft on Trump until he was nominated - I think it was part of the strategy to push him to the fore leading up to that, as a straw candidate. Then, as soon as the nomination was a lock, out came the oppo research. They didn't realize that in continuing the "Trump...Trump...Trump" drumbeat, they were giving him air time, gratis.

They wanted Todd Akin II. They got Archie Bunker II.

Michael K said...

The Media was a big part of the Trump campaign in 2016 but they were horrified when he won. After he won, the Democrats went crazy and that made good TV. They have set themselves up as the opposition, far from loyal of course. They seem unable to outwit Trump, no matter how they try. The press conferences show how inept they are in this game.

Amadeus 48 said...

I knew a guy who was tight with Turner Broadcasting/CNN. He said they make all their money with CNN International. CNN USA is nothing. Does Zucker talk about that? These two are playing circle jerk.

Yancey Ward said...

Yes, Matt Sablan brings up the most relevant point, and the one being missed in that excerpt (I read the entire Taibbi essay later).

Seemingly, most people have forgotten the good press coverage Trump got from CNN and the other mainstream news media, papers and networks, right up until the moment Trump it became clear to even morons that Trump was going to win the Republican nomination. Indeed, the only news network and paper that didn't give Trump good press coverage from late 2015 until May 2016 was FoxNews and the Wall Street Journal.

I think it all but obvious the Democrats in the media believed building up Trump and having him lose the nomination would lead to a third party run and a Democrat landslide victory- the model was 1992, and I don't doubt for a second that Clinton's people were actively involved in this plan.

Joe Smith said...

CNN, MSNBC and the rest of the MSM crowd should thank God every day for Trump. If he loses, their ratings and ad revenue tanks.

n.n said...

Alt or quasi-religions (i.e. behavioral protocols): ethics (i.e. relativistic), Pro-Choice, selective, opportunistic.

mikee said...

Is this the same CNN which covered up mass murder by Iraq's Saddam Hussein, in order to maintain their "access" which allowed them to learn newsworth stuff they then refused to report, to maintain their "access" which allowed them to learn.....

At some point I had to turn CNN off, as CNN is known more for NOT reporting factual events as they occur, than for anything else at all.

Daniel Jackson said...

zucker's arrogance is too much. the entire scenerio reads like the lyrics of pink floyd's "have a cigar."


"did we tell you the name of the game, boy. we call it robbing the gravy train."66666

dbzdak said...

This has got to be an intentional Miller's Crossing reference, right?

https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/f02f4479-6fe4-4602-b8da-27ff8595d12b

Leigh said...

Sorry, but Taibbi is just stealing from Tucker here. In this 7-minute clip, Tucker does it first, and far better than Taibbi. And no, Zucker wasn't trying to play "kingmaker" as Taibbi claims. He was just being his usual obsequious, over-solicitous self because he needed Trump for his ratings. But Zucker never thought Trump would win even the primary; that much is obvious from what Zucker said on the tape. CNN is no more than a grade-B television soap opera, playing on a continuous loop. Sure, different characters like Cuomo and Lemon, or Cooper and Stelter rotate in to make appearances -- they're needed to add a little variety -- but the plot never changes.
https://youtu.be/7cdNZCI1nXM