If anyone can claim to have made President Trump a television network star, it’s CNN chief Jeff Zucker. And Trump feels personally betrayed since Zucker has failed to cool the network’s burning hatred of him, so CNN is getting zero Trump administration appearances.
New York Magazine highlighted the feud between the former head of NBC Entertainment and the president.
Trump complains that Zucker should be programming CNN more favorably toward him because of their long relationship, which can be traced back to 2004 when Zucker put The Apprentice on NBC. Trump has also said to White House staffers that Zucker owes him because Trump helped get him the job at CNN.
Both men deny that the rift is personal. But we all know it is.
CNN goes to great lengths to make Trump look bad, while Trump goes to equal lengths to call CNN out for “fake news.” Both of them
lie stretch the truth like taffy and engage in pointless tweet wars.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) January 25, 2017
Not so fast…those numbers are cumulative ratings. They are totally meaningless in the industry.
“It’s a factual statistic, but I literally never used cumulative ratings once when I edited TVNewser,” Brian Flood, a media reporter at TheWrap, told Business Insider in an email. “Not once.”
The real numbers show CNN had nearly 8.4 million fewer viewers watch the oath of office and ceremony than Fox News. CNN’s audience was 28.6 percent of Fox’s.
Until Zucker and Trump mend fences, CNN is going to get the cold shoulder from the Trump White House. It might not matter, because hating Trump brings higher ratings with a certain audience, even if his officials refuse to grant interviews.
CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter wrote in one of his recent newsletters that an aide in “Trumpworld” told him that his ratings would likely be hurt “because no Trump administration officials had agreed to be interviewed.” Stelter said in that newsletter that his ratings were in fact his highest since last November’s election coverage at 1.3 million viewers.
Jake Tapper’s “State of the Union” hasn’t seen a Trump official since Jan 8. But their ratings haven’t really suffered.
It’s possible that this media war between the president and anti-Trump CNN could be good for both of them. Given that this is the most entertainment-centered administration in history, that would make sense. The whole thing is a big reality show, and what reality show doesn’t have manufactured conflict?
I’m waiting to see Jeff Zucker sneak into the White House for a private dinner with Trump, where they both toast pulling off the biggest scam in TV history: Crafting a public and personal war to boost each other’s ratings.
But what do I know? I’m just a cynical guy who thinks it’s all about money (isn’t it?).