[guest post by JVW]
CNN president Jeff Zucker resigned from his position earlier today after it no longer became tenable for him to lead that ethically-challenged organization while carrying on a romantic relationship with a subordinate, who has been identified as Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Office, Allison Gollust. Zucker explains it this way:
As part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo’s tenure at CNN, I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for more than 20 years. I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong.
As a result, I am resigning today.
This is perhaps the culmination (I write “perhaps,” because who knows what other ridiculous developments are yet to come) of a really miserable last few years for CNN in the Trump and then post-Trump media landscape. Ratings have plummeted since being goosed upwards during the January 6, 2021 Washington DC riots and aftermath, to the degree where not only is “The Most Trusted Name in News” lagging well behind arch-rival Fox News in ratings, but they are now getting regularly beat in key time slots by ideologically-friendly competitor MSNBC.
After gaining viewership during the early days of the Trump Administration when CNN — long-derided by conservatives as slanted to the left (it was dubbed the “Clinton News Network” by the late Rush Limbaugh) — took an aggressive posture to dealing with President 45. The network was understandably ridiculed for spending much of 2018 promoting the fraudulent hustler Michael Avenatti, to the point of actually promoting him as a plausible Presidential candidate to take on Donald Trump. They followed-up that embarrassment by first suspending and then rehabilitating analyst Jeffrey Toobin, a partisan hack who brings marginal value to legal commentary, after he had disgraced himself and likely traumatized an entire Zoom room with remote workplace Onanism. Toobin had already distinguished himself at the network by carrying on an extramarital affair with the daughter of a colleague and then having to be hauled into court as a deadbeat to pay child support. It’s long been wondered why CNN was willing to tolerate Toobin, who doesn’t seem to drive ratings at all and who is clearly a human resources department nightmare. The latest revelations against Zucker perhaps provide a clue why the network was so blasé about Toobin’s gross behavior.
And then there’s the network’s on-staff sexual predators. CNN producer John Griffin was arrested at the end of last year and charged with disgusting sexual practices with young girls. Griffin had been lead producer on the show “Cuomo Prime Time” featuring the sleazy and stupid host Christopher Cuomo, who himself was fired by the network when credible accusations of sexual harassment emerged after it had become clear that the host had flouted network rules about using his position to help his embattled thuggish and corrupt brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, fight back against sexual harassment charges of his own. The Cuomo Brothers, let us not forget, had become huge CNN stars during the COVID-19 lockdown, even though media ethics watchdogs had questioned the appropriateness of letting Fredo devote a great chunk of his “news program” to mindless banter with Sonny.
We’re bound to learn more about the Jeff Zucker-Allison Gollust relationship in the days to come, especially why it was allowed to go on for so long considering that it was apparently pretty much obvious to everyone at the network. One tantalizing report is that it was the Chris Cuomo legal team who pushed hard to bring this matter forward, so one cheer to Fredo if he indeed is behind Zucker’s resignation. And Megyn Kelly, who never worked at CNN but knows a thing or two about the boss chasing after the gals in the office, provides this prediction:
Zucker’s relationship with Gollust went on for years, and what he did to keep her near him (as he kept advancing her up the line) will be even more stunning to the CNN news room. https://t.co/STe578EX3W
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) February 2, 2022
Oh, and as a fun coda, do you know what Allison Gollust did before she started working under (and on top of, and side-by-side, and — sorry, I shouldn’t have gone there) Jeff Zucker at CNN? That’s right, she was communications director for Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York. These people are absolutely shameless, and CNN has way too many clowns packed into that tiny car.