CNN President: We Won't Be 'Shamed' Into Covering Benghazi Hearings By 'Temper Tantrums' From the Right

Last week, Jake Tapper of CNN refused to guess how CNN would cover the House select committee on Benghazi’s hearings. It was above his pay grade.

Capital New York reports that CNN president Jeff Zucker snottily sounded off to New York Times TV reporter Bill Carter at an awards dinner against any complaining conservatives. He said his network would not be “shamed into it” by “others” and their “temper tantrums” demanding coverage:

"We're not going to be shamed into it by others who have political beliefs that want to try to have temper tantrums to shame other news organizations into covering something," he said. "If it's of real news value, we'll cover it." But Zucker was "incredibly comfortable" with having no shame over-covering the Malaysian Jet mystery -- something that caused disgust all over the spectrum of news consumers. CNN beat that dead horse into a smelly mist.

Asked whether he considered his channel's ratings-elevating coverage of the event was ever excessive, Zucker said, "If I take a step back from our coverage of the Malaysian plane's disappearance, I'm incredibly comfortable with it. I believed early on, right from the start, that it was an enormously important story: an American-made Boeing jet liner, with Rolls Royce engines with 239 people, disappears into thin air...That's why we devoted the resources that we did to it."

CNN continues to mention the story every day, Zucker said, noting that the families of the 239 people aboard the plane still ask for updates.

The CNN boss also knows that it was disconnected from American politics, unlike the controversy over how Obama and his aides (including Hillary Clinton) pushed a transparently false narrative about the motivations of the terrorists who attacked our consulate in Benghazi. Zucker and Tapper want to reserve judgment to see if Republicans are "serious" about creating "news value."

Zucker might be shamed into more climate-change coverage, but he knows the audience isn't really thrilled with the sound of it: "Climate change is one of those stories that deserves more attention, that we all talk about," Zucker said, "but we haven't figured out how to engage the audience in that story in a meaningful way. When we do do those stories, there does tend to be a tremendous amount of lack of interest on the audience's part."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis