Straight From the Loser’s Cakehole

CNN President Jeff Zucker:

“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.”

Translation: only an idiot would watch a network that devoted the last few months to talking about a missing airplane, and those idiots don’t care about climate change.

The good news for everyone but CNN is that, as counterintuitive as it may seem, there’s apparently a finite supply of idiots. The last ratings available show CNN in third place behind Fox and MSNBC.

Thanks to reader J for sending this in.

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40 replies
  1. 1
    c u n d gulag says:

    Maybe we could spread a rumor that the plane tried to land on the ice-shelf of Antarctica, only to find itself sinking because the shelf was falling into the ocean due to global warming.

    And that the pilot’s last words, were, “Glub… glub… glu…”

  2. 2
    Lee Rudolph says:

    Peak idiot?

  3. 3
    Belafon says:

    The idiots already have a channel. Why would you need CNN if you have FOX?

    What really ought to torque CNN is that MSNBC is a news channel for only about five days a week.

  4. 4
    Brendan in NC says:

    Shorter Zucker – “When your target audience doesn’t believe in Science, it doesn’t make any sense to cover scientific things.” That’s why they only cover missing pretty white girls…

  5. 5
    Face says:

    @c u n d gulag: THIS. If only we could orchestrate the disappearance of planes around the South Pole, a coal-fired plant, a gas station, and a polar bear, CNN would be knocking ths topic out of the park.

  6. 6
    BBA says:

    What do you expect from the guy who destroyed NBC? At least he hasn’t given Jay Leno a primetime show yet…

  7. 7
    BBA says:

    What do you expect from the guy who destroyed NBC? At least he hasn’t given Jay Leno a primetime show yet…

  8. 8
    BBA says:


  9. 9
    Amir Khalid says:

    It does seem like MH370 got more coverage in America, over a longer period, than here in Malaysia — despite the lack of new information for nearly all of the past two and a half months.

    My prescription for CNN: you’re a news station. Go out and report the news; when reporting it was all you did, there was plenty of it out there, and there’s at least as much out there now. Yes, it really is that simple.

  10. 10
    Another Holocene Human says:

    C’mon, mistermix, you can smell that bullshit half a mile away.

    Everybody loves them some disasterporn. Remember Sharknado? What about those land slides in Oregon? Inconvenient Truth wasn’t exactly a failure either.

    No, they just don’t want to cross the Kochs and Exxon.

  11. 11
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Brendan in NC: Target advertisers, my friend. The viewers are the product being sold.

  12. 12
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    On my Facebook wlog, my climate change posts are regularly ignored, along with my economics posts. Those subjects are too complicated and ambivalent to elicit a visceral reaction.

  13. 13
    Botsplainer says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Cheaper to overpay assholes to debate, as opposed to maintaining staffing levels for global reporting, production, rights acquisition, research, news aggregator review and editing. You can have a few unpaid interns review HuffPo and TMZ for trends, and somebody can check the AP terminal for something big on the way to the john a couple of times a day, and SHAZAM, you have a multibillion dollar ad platform that returns some money to investors and maximizes executive compensation.

  14. 14
    amk says:


    Yup, cnn used to be good at putting feet on the ground, often the first to do it. Now it it’s all bloviating empty suits and cheap stupid animations in studios.

  15. 15
    Amir Khalid says:

    Zucker must know, there’s no way for CNN to win the news game if its strategy is to be the Pepsi to Fox News’ Coke. If CNN settles for that, fine; let it fade into obscurity and die. Actually reporting news might not be a profitable way to run a news station anymore, but at least it’s more honourable.

  16. 16
    raven says:

    @amk: Even the losers, get lucky sometime. . .

  17. 17
    Ruckus says:


    What really ought to torque CNN is that MSNBC is a news channel for only about five days a week.

    That’s five days more than faux. And about 7 more than Crappy News Now.

  18. 18
    NonyNony says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Actually reporting news might not be a profitable way to run a news station anymore, but at least it’s more honourable.

    If it isn’t profitable, it won’t get done.

    The basic cable spot is valuable, though. If they don’t want to actually do news anymore they should consider changing their format entirely.

    If the profit motive is all they have, and if they can’t be profitable actually staffing reporters who are going to investigate stories, then they should do something else. Fox News has the market for right-wing idiots who only want to get told what they want to hear, and apparently MSNBC snagged the “we’ll put both sides on the air so we can claim to be balanced” mantle from CNN while they weren’t paying attention. So maybe there’s no room for them anymore – maybe it’s time to close it down and use those two channels for something else.

    They can go whole hog and make CNN HN a tabloid channel – it would involve competing with E!, but honestly it’s already a tabloid channel so why not? And CNN – I dunno. Maybe a documentary channel or something?

    (To add – I don’t think there’s room for a “liberal Fox News”. Half the potential audience wouldn’t trust it because it would be corporate news. The rest of the audience wouldn’t watch it because rage inducing television doesn’t work for liberals – it’s why MSNBC’s lineup only kind of works and why MSNBC benefits from having a “both sides” attitude having Morning Shmoe on in the morning as a balance to their evenings – they know that they can compete for conservatives during Fox & Friends, but it’s impossible to compete with Fox in the evenings for those eyeballs.)

  19. 19
    Amir Khalid says:

    Speaking of news, the Thai military has staged yet another coup d’etat, this time on the heels of Yingluck Shinawatra’s ouster as PM. (She’s Thaksin Shinawatra’s sister. He’s a corrupt, nasty piece of work, and she’s pretty much been his proxy.)

  20. 20

    Isn’t the saying that any rerun of Spongebob Squarepants gets more viewers than anything on the 24 hour news networks? Television news is caught in an MBA spiral, producing cheaper, lower quality product that depends on the temporary boosts of flash. It’s short term thinking, and, well, long term is happening.


  21. 21
    shelley says:

    Translation: ‘We can’t be bothered but lets blame it on something else, like our audience.’

  22. 22
    catclub says:

    @Another Holocene Human: “What about those land slides in Oregon? ”

    News network fail. They were in Washington ( the STATE!).

  23. 23
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Amir Khalid: Also speaking of news, a dozen Ukrainian soldiers have been killed by pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk area. A Ukrainian Army officer is reporting that the separatists had two helicopter gunships. I’m sure they bought them at the local hardware store.

    I know I probably speak for others when I say that nothing says “brave anti-fascism” quite like paramilitaries and terrorists disrupting a presidential election. Because keeping people from voting is the most democratic process of all.

  24. 24
    raven says:

    @Amir Khalid: I have a friend who is supposed to go there tomorrow, I hope it’s ok?

  25. 25
    MattF says:

    It’s pretty clear that ‘cable news’ is an oxymoron. These days, if you want the news, you have to do the critical work yourself. Fortunately, the raw material is all out there, unfortunately you’ve got Mr. Useless Zucker (and his cohorts) jumping up and down on the sidelines trying to get attention.

  26. 26
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Amir Khalid: Honor is for losers. Losers don’t get coffee. Or bonus checks.

  27. 27
    Amir Khalid says:

    From the BBC live blog:

    The US Embassy in Bangkok has published an emergency message to American citizens in Thailand on its Facebook page. It warns them to “stay alert, exercise caution, and monitor media coverage”. It also advises citizens to “avoid areas where there are protest events, large gatherings, or security operations” and to “follow the instructions of Thai authorities”.

    I trust your friend will keep checking that Facebook page.

  28. 28
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I’m sure that Gospodin Romanov approves of the use of helicopter gunships against the Ukrainian fascists, which they no doubt picked up, as you indicated, at a local hardware store. Batteries not included?

  29. 29
    MattF says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Not to mention pilots. Helicopters aren’t all that easy to drive.

  30. 30
    Eric U. says:

    when CNN first started, they would fill air time by playing 3 stooges and Marx Brothers reruns. I guess those are available cheap. They had a few good years and now they are back to slapstick.

  31. 31
    Richard Grant says:

    I hope that CNN figures out how to engage the audience by the time Superstorm Zucker hits Atlanta.

  32. 32
    LanceThruster says:


    This chaps my hide something fierce. So often I’m too exhausted from work during the week to keep up but would love a weekend update (the weekend morning shows are OK but kind of drag a bit). I cannot stand their ‘Lock Up” programming (or “Caught on Video” or any other gimmicky fillers).

  33. 33
    different-church-lady says:


    The rest of the audience wouldn’t watch it because rage inducing television doesn’t work for liberals

    Now wait a minute, if you just did it so that it was liberals raging at other liberals, you might be able to achieve niche profit. Throw in “centrists” and you might even manage to grab the #2 spot.

  34. 34
    different-church-lady says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Third prize is Jeff Zucker is fired paid to leave.

  35. 35
    Trollhattan says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    Those Ukranian bastards are stealing yet more patriotic Russian bullets?

    Heli gunships? Seriously? Not even our wingnuttiest wingnuts have those. (Oh lord, why did I type that out loud? Wayne LaPierre’s going to get right on it.)

  36. 36
    Trollhattan says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    Heard on the Beeb a day or so back the Army is commandeering the television and radio stations, and I don’t know how much the social media might be under the government’s control there. Which leaves the question of where one might get actual, accurate news?

    And to think Thailand is the region’s “civilized” country.

  37. 37
    Amir Khalid says:


    And to think Thailand is the region’s “civilized” country.


  38. 38
    jl says:

    And how many millions of dollars does Zucker get so he can publicly whine about his own incompetence at marketing important news. I thought that was his job.

  39. 39
    Paul T says:

    CNN= Cee No News

  40. 40
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: On Google+ I’ve been seeing a definite uptick in any post about global warming being jumped on by commenters insisting that it’s a fraud. They don’t even bother giving reasons for knowing it’s a fraud most of the time; it’s just pure ridicule.

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