NewsBusters Podcast: The Jeff Zucker Cult Sounds Eternally Grateful

February 4th, 2022 11:27 PM

Get out the hankies. After the Jeff Zucker ouster at CNN, Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy reported that "mostly the anger -- among reporters, producers and managers who were close to Zucker -- is directed at WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar and AT&T CEO John Stankey. We keep hearing variations of this phrase: 'Jason took down the best boss I ever had.'"

The Stephen Battaglio piece at the Los Angeles Times lined up the Zucker adoration squad from an angry internal meeting. “If we had not had Jeff here during the Trump administration, we would have probably been taken out, and you would have something like Fox News Lite on the air right now,” Jim Acosta said.

They were furious at Chris Cuomo for forcing Zucker's end. “He threatened,” Jake Tapper said. “Jeff said we don’t negotiate with terrorists. Chris blew the place up. How do we get past that perception that this is the bad guy winning?” Tapper said they would have been "benign vanilla gruel" without Zucker.

CNN people should never refer to anyone else as a "cult" after listening to them talk about Zucker. Jamie Gangel even suggested that members of the congressional January 6th committee felt "devastated for our democracy" over Zucker's dismissal.

Stelter touted his Reliable Sources podcast, where media reporter Claire Atkinson "likened the Zucker news to a crime scene mystery and said it's "like 'The Sopranos' and The Godfather all rolled into one story." Is Zucker a mob boss? To us it feels more like the aliens in Toy Story telling Mr. Potato Head "You have saved our lives. We are eternally grateful."

We also discuss AP's Matt Lee comparing the State Department to Alex Jones, NBC's Mike Memoli being heckled, the human-rights reporting on China during Olympics coverage, and PolitiFact getting really picky about cheeseburgers. Enjoy the podcast below or wherever you enjoy your podcasts.