Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's creepily unseemly glee over the demise of CNN chief Jeff Zucker -- filled with anti-Semitic "puppetmaster" labeling and stunning lack of self-awareness given that his downfall is similar to that of Fox News chief Roger Ailes -- didn't end when Curtis Houck stopped dancing on his professional grave after three days. There were other issues to deal with -- like the fact that Zucker essentially created their beloved Donald Trump when "The Apprentice" was developed under his watch at NBC. Scott Whitlock rushed into whataboutism in a Feb. 3 post:
NBC on Thursday discovered the most disgraceful thing that ex-Today show producer Jeff Zucker did, now that he’s resigned from CNN after a sex scandal: Zucker hired Donald Trump back in the ‘90s.
The fact that Zucker also secured the career success of alleged sex abuser Matt Lauer went unmentioned by the Today show.
You know, perhaps Whitlock shouldn't be mentioning Trump in the same breath as Lauer -- unless he's tacitly conceding that Trump is just as much of a creep as Lauer.
P.J. Gladnick didn't play Whitlock-like whataboutism when he complained about the same issue in a Feb. 5 post, but he insisted that anything he did at CNN was much worse:
She doesn't know precisely why CNN boss Jeff Zucker was forced out, but Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan wrote on Friday that "Jeff Zucker’s legacy is defined by his promotion of Donald Trump." All of CNN's horror-movie coverage was never enough.
So all of CNN's trashing Trump as a Russian tool, an American Hitler, a journalist-endangering dictator (and later a COVID mass murderer) wasn't enough? It's never enough.
Jeffrey Lord, meanwhile, devoted a Feb. 5 column to pondering whether CNN was "imploding" -- a think piece we don't recall Lord doing upon Roger Ailes' ignominious departure from Fox News amid a culture f rampant sexual harassment -- claiming that "with the arrival of Jeff Zucker, it seemed that CNN was slowly heading in a different direction altogether. Which is to say, there was more and more opinion, less and less hard news."Lord appears not to have read the MRC's own study finding that Fox News airs even less "news" than CNN or MSNBC.
The MRC also continued to be upset that CNN employees continued to say nice things about Zucker. Kevin Tober whined in a Feb. 6 post:
Need a good laugh? Well we’ve got you covered here at NewsBusters. On CNN’s Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter had on Media Studies Professor David Zurawik who made the preposterous claim that CNN was part of the fire wall that has helped “save democracy.”
While he was on the topic of misinformation and disinformation, Zurawik decided to gaslight the CNN audience and suck up to Brian Stelter by ludicrously claiming “CNN is one of the stations of all the television broadcast networks and cable channels it pushed harder from 2016 to 2020 against Trump and it was part of the fire wall that I think has saved democracy this far under Jeff Zucker.”
Nicholas Fondacaro similarly ranted in a Feb. 7 post:
Jeff Zucker was the venomous boss behind all of CNN’s toxic content poisoning American discourse but he was also everything to primetime host Don Lemon. He made that perfectly clear during Friday’s Don Lemon Tonight when he was so overwhelmed with emotion that he almost broke down crying on-air.
“Jeff Zucker may not have launched this network but he revived it, he made it relevant again. He steadied it for the last decade. He left us with a very good blueprint going forward,” he reassured them.
Ironically, under Zucker, CNN is experiencing their ratings bottom-out across the board; plus, their credibility has been left in tatters because of the extreme liberal bent obvious to any honest observer and their abdication (bordering on contempt) of journalistic ethics.
Houck returned in a Feb. 8 post to attack CNN host Alisyn Camerota for saying Zucker's ouster was affecting her mental health, sneering: "In other words, they're a cult." The next day, Houck yet again hung the "puppetmaster" slur on Zucker:
Monday on his eponymous NewsNation show, longtime TV news personality and legal expert Dan Abrams hammered CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter over his behavior regarding the ouster of now-ex-CNN boss and puppetmaster Jeff Zucker, calling Stelter “dishonest” for his defense of CNN as a legitimate news network and “reckless” for targeting John Malone, the top share in CNN’s future parent company Discovery.
We don't recall anyone at the MRC complaining about just how little Fox News covered the scandals of its founder and boss, Roger Ailes.
Fondacaro cheered that "Zucker's lover" -- i.e., the subordinate with whom Zucker was having an undisclosed relationship that was the stated cause of Zucker's departure -- had also left CNN in a Feb. 16 post, going on to hype gossip about Zucker's relationship with Chris Cuomo, who departed CNN a few months before. When Zucker's replacement -- former CBS "Late Show" showrunner Chris Licht -- was named, Fondacaro returned to hurl more darts at CNN in a Feb. 26 post:
In an interesting “scoop” published Saturday, Axios reported that CBS’s EVP of Special Programming Chris Licht, who was tapped to replace ousted CNN boss Jeff Zucker to lead the third-place cable network, wants to get back to CNN being a straight news outlet and cut back on the liberal screeds that dominate prime time and their newscasts in general.
The Axios headline said it all: “CNN to dull its liberal edge.” “Under new chief Chris Licht, CNN will dial down the prime-time partisanship and double down on the network's news-gathering muscle,” reported Mike Allen and Sara Fischer.
According to Axios, Licht was picked by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav because “[r]atings are secondary to credibility[.]”
Both of which are foreign concepts to CNN currently.
Of course, Fondacaro is perfectly happy to see Fox News throw away credibility for the sake of ratings, and he has never demanded that Fox News "dull its conservative edge." As a loyal MRC apparatchik, he does not want "middle of the road" coverage, since he has bought into the MRC party line that anything even slightly less right-wing than Fox News is irredeemably "liberal."