Longtime CNN president Jeff Zucker resigned today citing an undisclosed consensual relationship with his long-time colleague Allison Gollust.
There’s clearly more to the story, as Puck News founder Matthew Belloni tweeted, “Potentially important: I’m told CNN received a litigation hold letter recently from Chris Cuomo lawyers, demanding, among other things, preservation of all communications between Zucker, comms chief Allison Gollust and Andrew Cuomo.”
The news left CNN ombudsman Brian Stelter decrying how shocking and stunning Zucker’s exit was, even as several other journalists and media personalities noted that the relationship between the CNN chief and Gollust was an open secret. As Belloni indicates, his move most likely ties directly to former CNN host Chris Cuomo’s dismissal. Cuomo knows where all the bodies are buried at CNN. The decision to empower Cuomo through multiple scandals, and make his brother, then-New York governor Andrew Cuomo, a pandemic hero has come back to haunt CNN. As it should.
Jeff Zucker brought a brash confidence to CNN, after departing NBC, a network where he also empowered Matt Lauer and Donald Trump. No single human being on the planet is more responsible for Donald Trump’s presidency, and its fallout, than Jeff Zucker. Zucker handpicked Donald Trump to helm The Apprentice, resurrecting the Donald’s cultural relevance. Their relationship acted as a springboard for Trump to conquer media and politics. President Donald Trump was not a phenomenon created by conservative politics. It wouldn’t have happened without Jeff Zucker’s NBC.
When Trump was elected on a tidal wave of unprecedented free media courtesy of Zucker (remember how they used to broadcast Trump’s empty podium rather than Hillary’s speeches?), Zucker abandoned CNN’s straight-news reputation. Instead the network acted as a combative heel for Trump. Remember Now that Trump has gone, Zucker and CNN have found their new heel in Fox News and Tucker Carlson.
Jeff Zucker does not believe that the purpose of cable news is to dutifully inform viewers about news happening in their community, their country or their world. Zucker sees cable news as professional wrestling. The on-air talent his CNN hired to brawl with Donald Trump and Fox News — the likes of Jim Acosta, Brianna Keilar, Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy — all exist to play the roles Zucker wanted them to play. Any of them spending the day reacting in shock at Zucker’s departure over a pending lawsuit from Chris Cuomo are being disingenuous with the audience — just as he would want them to be. Even now, those left to clean up the rubble left in the wake of Zucker and Cuomo are still attempting to spin this all as “Facts first.”
In spring 2016, when Trump had all but secured the GOP nomination, Zucker, according to the New York Times, ran into Trump while in makeup at the network’s headquarters in Washington DC, as Trump was prepping for an interview. Trump asked Zucker “You think any of this would have happened without The Apprentice?” Zucker moved past Trump and replied, “Nope.”
Good riddance to both, hopefully for good.