Archive for the CNN Category

How To Have A Short Career At CNN…Shorter Than You Expected…

Posted in CNN on August 4, 2016 by icn2

Be a CNN freelancer grunt with an itchy social media trigger finger… (via Romenesko)

I actually work for CNN and can tell you many, many people there loved crooked Hillary, but not me. Not this guy. I see what a future will look like with a Clinton presidency and we can’t have it. Let’s put Trump in the white house 2016

Well okay then. Do me a favor and say hello to Octavia Nasr and Jim Clancy, ok?

Jeff Zucker Interview…

Posted in CNN on August 2, 2016 by icn2

Variety’s Ramin Setoodeh has a long interview with Jeff Zucker.

It’s a fairly tame interview. The hardest shot Setoodeh takes is here…

In June, CNN raised eyebrows when it added Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, to its payroll as a commentator. “The reason we hired Corey is that now that we are in the general election, I think it’s really important to have voices on CNN who are supportive of the Republican nominee,” says Zucker. “It’s hard to find a lot of those. Our competitors tried to hire him too.” Zucker doesn’t agree with criticism that Lewandowski is offering talking points instead of analysis. “I actually think he’s done a really nice job,” Zucker says. “He’s come under a much greater spotlight because of who he is, and the relationship he’s had with the media. As a result, people are going to be more critical.”

Even as shots go this one is pretty tame because it totally ignores the story that Lewandowski is still on Trump’s payroll with his severance package that he has a vested interest in not seeing diminish should he say something the notoriously vindictive Trump doesn’t like. Ripping Manafort on air doesn’t qualify.

Then there’s this…

Some of CNN’s naysayers complain that the network leans too heavily on stories that grab eyeballs. But Zucker argues that he doesn’t need to choose between ratings and less-splashy journalism. “There’s a misconception we’re doing this all for ratings,” he says. “We’re covering all of the news. It’s just not necessarily on television anymore.” He points to online stories of world events that may not make the daily broadcast for CNN’s U.S. airwaves, and CNN International employs a robust team of reporters all over the world. “We run a very profitable international business and are pleased about that,” says Tony Maddox, the managing director of CNN International.

This is why I take exception to the title of this article. How Jeff Zucker made CNN great again? That’s arguable, depending on your definition of “great”. If by “great” you mean more successful, profitable, higher rated…then yeah CNN is great again.

But at what cost?

What about CNN TV covering all of the major world stories? You know that thing CNN used to do but doesn’t do anymore.

Morale may be up but why is that? Is it because staff bought in to the above definition of “great”?

CNN TV used to stand apart from its cable news brethren because it covered more of the world more of the time. Now it has fallen in line with its competitors and does less with more.

That’s a pretty steep price to be “great” again. You sacrifice long term viability and relevance to achieve short term gain.

I keep circling back to one factoid in Zucker’s re-invention of the network…that its TV wing isn’t covering the news like it used to. It’s not just about going deep on a few stories…it’s the wholesale ignoring of major world events because, while newsworthy, they just won’t give the eyeballs that covering Trump ad nauseum will…that going berserk over MH370 did.

This is why I choke on Zucker’s suggestion that it’s not about ratings. OF COURSE IT IS ABOUT RATINGS. The stories that rate well get covered hard and long. The ones that don’t rate as well get shoved to online. Stories are hyped days in advance thanks to CNN’s countdown clock abuse. I just saw one today counting down the days until the election. This isn’t about some great public service CNN is performing for its viewers. No, the reasons for cluttering up dayside with countdown clocks is far more cynical. It’s to hype the story…to bait viewers…to drive ratings.

The idea that online is an acceptable substitute for major world stories should be anathema to a TV news network. Zucker can talk about digital until he’s blue in the face but the bottom line is CNN TV is still the golden goose. If Time Warner suddenly decided to fold up CNN TV tomorrow, CNN Digital will start dying a slow death. Nobody outside of maybe CNN thinks CNN Digital can stand on its own. Online news is still dominated by traditional journalism based entities like The Times, like The Post, like The Guardian, like The Financial Times, like The Wall Street journal. Even in its portal dominanting heyday was dominant not because it could stand on its own but because it had then powerhouse Microsoft to drive traffic.

A quick show of hands. When searching for news of the day, how many people first head to

I rest my case.

This from Zucker is noteworthy…

“I don’t think Vice and BuzzFeed are legitimate news organizations,” he says. What would he call them? “They are,” he says with a mischievous grin, “native advertising shops. We crush both of them. They are not even in our same class.”

But they are most definitely also a huge potential threat to CNN Digital especially where Millenials are concerned. Like it or not CNN Digital is probably more viewed as “old media” by Millenials even though it really isn’t, whereas Vice and Buzzfeed are considered “new media” and probably hipper. Zucker has to squash that notion, thus the over the top acerbic put down.

And don’t think Zucker doesn’t know this. How else can you explain this?

CNN has started its own digital company targeted to millennials. It’s called “Great Big Story,” the only product the network has ever launched without its trademark letters. GBS has its own logo — a red rocket ship.

CNN is supposed to be THE brand. The one that drives the traffic to digital. And yet, when launching a new media venture to counter Buzzfeed and Vice, CNN opted to leave its strongest asset, its brand, on the bench? What’s that tell you?

Pilot time for S.E. Cupp?

Posted in CNN, HLN on July 17, 2016 by icn2

It appears HLN did a pilot for a show with SE Cupp. Or at least that’s the inference that can be drawn from this video open which someone stupidly posted on Vimeo. Say goodbye to your job fool if CNN ever successfully traces it.

CNN does a lot of pilots a year and almost all of them never make it to air…at least not in their pilot form. So that’s not useful info that HLN shot a pilot. But who gets to do a pilot is very useful information because it means it’s someone CNN wants to give a push to.

So it would be reasonable to assume CNN wants to leverage Cupp…at least on HLN.

Update: Predictably, the video has been yanked…

CNN GOP Convention Coverage Plans

Posted in CNN on July 13, 2016 by icn2

CNN announced its GOP convention coverage plans…



Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Jake Tapper, Dana Bash, Chris Cuomo, and Don Lemon to anchor weeknight America’s Choice 2016 coverage

JULY 13, 2016 (Washington, D.C.) – On Saturday, July 16, CNN will kick off its special two-week coverage of both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions with comprehensive multiplatform reporting from the network’s anchors, political correspondents and reporters.

CNN will deliver 24-hour, around-the-clock coverage during both convention weeks live from Cleveland and Philadelphia.
Continue reading

CNN Must Drop Corey Lewandowski

Posted in CNN on July 13, 2016 by icn2

Today we are witness to a stark contrast in how two networks deal with conflicts of interest. One does it the right way. The other buries its head in the sand all in the name of ratings.

Yesterday, FNC put its contributor deal with Newt Gingrich on ice. The Newt-ster has been in the news again as a possible VP pick for Trump and FNC has been pretty ruthless in keeping conflicted contributors off its payroll. Just a couple days earlier the network did the same thing to Evan Bayh.

This is how it should be done. You get the whiff of a conflict of interest, you cut financial ties. You need to preserve your (real or perceived) image as an honest broker.

And then there’s CNN…

CNN hired Corey Lewandowski as a political commentator; CNN’s version of FNC’s contributor role. And if you believe the rumors it’s paying him 500 large for it.

Now, you can ask the obvious question that CNN apparently didn’t bother to ask itself: Is the network going to get anything of value out of him? Well so far the answer has been no. He’s been in full campaign mode even though he’s no longer campaign manager.

Worse, Lewandowski ducked questions about whether he signed either a confidentiality agreement or a non-disparagement agreement. What that means is even if Lewandowski disagreed with something Trump did or said…if he thought Trump was being a complete jerk…he could be legally restricted from saying so.

Tell me again, what CNN is getting for their 500 large with this guy?

The network has tried its best to ignore the whole controversy. It doesn’t want to answer the obvious questions regarding Lewandowski’s utility in this role. It would prefer if people would just move on.

Well, moving on just got more difficult.

Today, it was revealed that Lewandowski is collecting a severance from Trump. So that means while he’s on CNN, and being paid by CNN to talk about Trump, he’s getting paid by Trump.

But don’t tell that to CNN. Oh no. Corey’s not getting paid by Trump at all.

CNN source says @CLewandowski_ isn’t being “paid” by Trump camp while on CNN. He IS receiving severance, which will be disclosed on air.

Oh…well that makes it okay then, huh?


He’s getting paid CNN. Deal with it. Whether you want to call it severance or getting paid, the result is the same…

Lewandowski has a financial incentive NOT to say or do anything to ruffle Trump.

That is a classic conflict of interest.

CNN must drop Lewandowski. He’s poison for the network’s reputation as an honest news broker.

Of course CNN won’t do that because Jeff Zucker runs CNN and Jeff Zucker loves controversy. Jeff Zucker loves ratings even more than controversy. What Jeff Zucker also loves is damaging and diluting his network’s news brand which he has done repeatedly since he took over. Plus you have to figure Jeff Zucker is the one who brought him on board so if CNN were to drop him, that would reflect badly on himself.

So Lewandowski stays and CNN continues to look less and less reputable compared to FNC every day.

p.s. I would have included MSNBC with FNC except this happened earlier in the week. That interview never should have been allowed to air with Nicolle Wallace, who even admitted to her conflict of interest, conducting it. CNN splits hairs with “severance” and “paid”…MSNBC split them with “interview” and “conversation”.

Shots Fired…

Posted in CNN, MSNBC on June 9, 2016 by icn2

Politico did a podcast with Joe Scarborough. Glenn Thrush writes about it…

Scarborough sees the real culprit of Trump-enabling not at his own desk but at a rival network’s – and he related an off-air conversation with Trump about CNN boss Jeff Zucker that he believes to be revealing, and not in a good way. “He and Zucker are very close. Zucker personally calls Trump,” Scarborough said. “[Zucker] books Trump. “And Trumps laughs and calls Zucker ‘my personal booker’ because Zucker will call Trump. He hasn’t said that publicly, but he’s said it. I’ve said it publicly now. Trump will laugh every time Zucker calls.”

Related: Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher sheds further light on the subject

A source at CNN with direct knowledge tells us that Zucker “personally books all the candidates and big gets, and doles them out to whichever anchor he wants,” adding that individual shows’ producers “are barred from calling our own contacts personally” to book guests like Clinton and Trump.

According to this source, even if a candidate wants to appear on a different show, they are almost always steered to either the network’s Sunday tentpole State of the Union with Jake Tapper, their morning show New Day, or the Anderson Cooper-hosted AC360. “He wants to prop up the Sunday show and the morning show and the 8 pm show,” the source says.

Talk about micromanaging…

Erica Hill Back To HLN…

Posted in CNN, HLN, MSNBC on June 6, 2016 by icn2

TVNewser’s Chris Ariens writes that Erica Hill is leaving NBC for HLN/CNN…

“I’m thrilled to come home,” said Hill. “The opportunity to reunite with Ken and the smart, talented HLN/CNN family was one I couldn’t refuse. I am so excited to be a part of this new chapter at HLN.”

“Erica was a catalyst during our evolution from Headline News to HLN, and now, as we return to our news roots, she’s the obvious addition to our first-class on-air team,” added Ken Jautz, evp, CNN.

Hill will anchor her show from New York, beginning in the fall. This means HLN’s dayside shows will be anchored from Atlanta (Robin Meade), Los Angeles (Michaela Pereira) and New York (Hill).

It might be mildly surprising that Hill is coming back to HLN/CNN. What shouldn’t be any surprise is that Hill was leaving NBC; not after essentially being demoted off Weekend Today.