Jeff Zucker, the President of CNN, formerly known as the “Clinton News Network,” has come out swinging after Donald Trump (correctly) labeled his network “fake news.”
In an interview with New York magazine, the 51 year-old Jewish colon-cancer survivor threatened to besmirch Trump’s reputation abroad.
“One of the things I think this administration hasn’t figured out yet is that there’s only one television network that is seen in Beijing, Moscow, Seoul, Tokyo, Pyongyang, Baghdad, Tehran and Damascus — and that’s CNN,” Zucker said. “The perception of Donald Trump in capitals around the world is shaped, in many ways, by CNN. Continuing to have an adversarial relationship with that network is a mistake.”
The idea that CNN shapes perceptions in such places is patently absurd, but the remark is interesting nonetheless as an implicit admission that the network has already lost most of its credibility in the USA through its extremely negative and dishonest coverage of Trump and other issues.
All the cable news channels, of course, enjoyed an uptick in their viewing figures during the Presidential election campaign, but are now expected to experience a slump, following the election.
In his interview Zucker failed to address the real problem for the network, the fact that it is caught between two contradictory business models — being either a bland, boring, “neutral” news source with a wide but shallow appeal or being a partisan echo chamber with a deep but narrow appeal for a limited audience.
Neither approach seems particularly workable for CNN as it has already destroyed its credibility as a “neutral” news source, without being able to secure the leftist echo chamber audience, where MSNBC has largely outmaneuvered it.
Indeed, viewed objectively, the network’s best bet for success would be to swing towards American populism and essentially back Trump to the hilt. But that is unlikely to happen as the channel is now riddled with SJW types and globalist flunkies, and, even if it could follow this path, FOX News is already in a partial blocking position.
This means that the former cable news giant is likely to flail around where it is now, pretending to be “neutral and objective” while weakly dog whistling to leftist audiences, hoping that Trump turns out to be an extremely unpopular President. If he is not, the prospects for CNN look bleak indeed.