Jeff Zucker has either lost his senses or he has lost control of Cable News Network. Pick two.
CNN’s New Year’s Eve program went below the level of flaming dumpster scum last seen when Kathy Griffin went thrashing about in her training bra, at the side of erstwhile anchorman Anderson Cooper.
This year Cooper’s new Kathy Griffin was sidekick Andy Cohen, a refugee from the asylum at Bravo Network. Is there anybody they didn’t offend? Even barnyard animals are checking the thesaurus for new names. Roosters everywhere are crying foul.
Zucker’s recipe for disaster: Take a newsreader who has embarrassed the network in the past. Add another uber high-profile arriviste of the same controversial group of demanding self-righteous individuals who pretend to speak for everyone else in their community. Then give them the leeway to go skipping hand-in-hand down the long plastic hallway marked Disaster Ahead, and watch them plow out the back door and over the cliff.
What kind of TV News “executive” lets two guys like that get loaded on alcohol on live television? Was Zucker surprised when the bubbly pair bounced along the edge of the giggles like a couple of teenagers?
Was he shocked when their obviously premeditated naughty repartee took a turn for the worse and Cooper consciously decided to use the word “cock?” And not about roosters or rifle triggers, either. (Goodbye to families with kids, the Christian Right, the Christian Left, and God knows who else.)
Was Zucker palming his ball bearings as he watched Cooper and Cohen transition to talk of Cooper’s deceased mother in terms that suggested she hopped from bed-to-bed with a frequency measured in petaflops? (Goodbye to mothers, grandmothers, most women, all of #MeToo, and likely the executor of Gloria Vanderbilt’s estate.)
How about when “reporter” Randi Kaye interviewed a drunken drag queen dressed in a mermaid outfit sitting in a washtub full of rum? (Goodbye to anyone who ever attended a 12-step meeting.) As she poured more rum into the tub, Kaye fed him the line: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tail so huge!”
“That’s not the only thing that’s huge here, honey,” the drag queen answered.
(Goodbye to heterosexual males, guys who don’t look that good in drag, women too, and every last soul who ever baited a hook.)
At this writing, there is no word whether anyone at CNN was suspended or disciplined in any way. It is unlikely, as Mother Zucker seems to hold clickbait and profit in such high regard that he’s willing to drown a once-proud and outstanding news organization in the classless, odious muck brought forth by Cooper, Cohen, and company.
This disaster is sadly reminiscent of Hunter S. Thompson’s line about the music business. To paraphrase: “[CNN] is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”