Jeff Zucker, what are you doing? You guys are getting the snot kicked out of you over a series of missteps. I get to my hotel tonight and the TV in the lobby is on CNN and you guys are covering, still, the fake Time magazine cover at a Trump golf course while on your website you are devoting pixels to fanboy-ish praise of Barack Obama’s jeans selection.
This is CNN?
I hold CNN in fond affection and have a lot of friends who work there. I feel for them in the midst of an all out assault on their integrity. There are a ton of good people who work at CNN. The network does a ton a good and offers a great news package.
But it seems someone at the network has decided to double down on stereotype. The Trump Administration is pounding them for fake news and they’re focusing their attention on a silly story about a Time magazine cover and a former President’s jeans selection. It is utterly ridiculous. It makes the network seem petty and small at a time the network is being accused of being petty and small.
The fixation on the Time cover certainly must scratch the itch of aggrieved reporters who want to hit back at the charge of “fake news.” What’s faker than fake? A photoshopped cover of Time magazine, which will no doubt soon be replaced with an entire wall of actual Time magazines that feature the President.
But no one really cares about this story except the media trying to match the President in a game of gotcha.
CNN ran two stories that have gotten it into trouble. First, it reported James Comey would contradict the President on whether the President is under investigation. That story, given wall to wall coverage, had to be retracted. The second story is the most recent one about Anthony Scarramucci. The three reporters involved no longer work at CNN.
The pivot to focus on the Time cover just looks like a tit for tat. Look, the sad truth is that everyone who engages with the President comes away besmirched. Some because they compromise their values to serve as yes men. The rest because they compromised their values to get in the mud and throw back as good as was given. Neither work out well and this is not working out well for CNN.
There are serious, substantive stories out there. The Time magazine cover is not one of them, nor is the Barack Obama jeans story. CNN has always been about real news done right. Now it’s about obsessing over the President obsessing over CNN. Nobody likes vanity coverage.