A Crusty Old CNN Correspondent Annotates the Professional Seppuku of ‘Banzai’ Zucker’s Madame Butterfly

Not since Giacomo Puccini dreamed up Cio-Cio-San for his most famous work has there been an opera as tragic as the one playing out at CNN, especially now with the resignation of Jeff “Banzai” Zucker’s mistress, Allison Gollust.

Some of us, however, believe the debacle at the once-great Cable News Network is more of a 1940s horse opera, with the stumbling duo of Zucker and Gollust filling the roles of McDowall and Flicka

In the greatest cascade of equine effluvium since Hillary Clinton’s last book tour, Zucker’s longtime great good friend and CNN’s executive vice president on Tuesday had the unmitigated gall to message the entirety of CNN with a deluge of hypocrisy

Let’s break it down, shall we?

“I had hoped to share my news with you tonight myself . . . ” 

She’s talking about the fallout from clandestinely sharing a bed with the boss before, during, and after the #MeToo movement. She’s also referring to her work on the clock at the network on behalf of disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who somehow thinks he still has a future in politics.

“ . . . and WarnerMedia had assured me I could do that.”

Right. As if AT&T and the Discovery Network are going to give an expendable like her an easy out when they have a multibillion-dollar deal in the works. Gollust came up through the marketing department and she’s somehow surprised about this?

“Unfortunately, they jumped the gun, breaking their promise.”

Oh, poor Go-Lust! She might pause for a moment—now that she has the time—to consider how she violated every canon of professional ethics (yes, they exist, even in the media) for years. She shouldn’t be shocked by a very predictable corporate reaction.

“I am sorry you had to learn this from someone other than me . . . ”

As if her opinion suddenly became more valuable after her hunka-hunka burnin’ love blew out of CNN like he was blasted from a supersonic jet into a booming hailstorm, abandoning her like an information age Cio-Cio-San . . . for a week or so, anyway.

“WarnerMedia’s statement tonight is an attempt to retaliate against me . . . ”

Against you? Who are you? Compared to the gargantuan corporations you managed to cross, you’re little better than a used Kleenex at this point.

“. . . and change the media narrative in the wake of their disastrous handling of the last two weeks.”

WarnerMedia’s disastrous handling? Well, you would know about disasters, sleeping with Zucker (ew, gross), and playing fixer for your previous boss, Cuomo. Then you attempt to blame your bad press on the WarnerMedia suits. Are you sure you’ve done this before? You don’t seem very deft at handling a crisis.  

”It is deeply disappointing that after spending the past nine years defending and upholding CNN’s highest standards of journalistic integrity . . . ”

Do you mean “upholding” in the Jeffrey Toobin sense? As for “journalistic integrity,” that’s a mirage at CNN, where professionalism has been replaced with partisan hackery. Andrew’s brother, Chris, made mincemeat of CNN’s “journalistic integrity.”

“ . . . I would be treated this way as I leave.”

You are right. You should not be treated this well. You lived a lie. Multiple lies. You got caught. I suspect this is only the beginning of the reckoning you will need to face.

“But I do so with my head held high . . . ”

Sure, Allison. In the news business, we call that anal-cranial inversion.

“ . . . knowing that I gave my heart and soul to working . . .”

Juggling one ball or another.

“. . . with the finest journalists in the world.” 

I can attest that was true of Ted Turner’s CNN. Not yours. Not the CNN of Don Lemon, who has been drunk on the air several times, and who faces a credible lawsuit for sexually assaulting a New York bartender. Not the CNN of Jeffrey Toobin (who, at least, kept his hands to himself.) Not the CNN of John Harwood, the debate moderator who later was discovered soliciting advice from the Democratic National Committee for questioning Republican presidential candidates.

So, sayo-freakin’-nara, Cio-Cio Gollust—to you and Banzai Jeff. Maybe you can get a job marketing for another place that considers your deceptive, Machiavellian scheming and flagrant hypocrisy a plus.

Come to think of it, Jen Psaki probably could use the break.

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About Chuck de Caro

Chuck de Caro is a contributor to American Greatness. He was CNN's very first Special Assignments Correspondent. Educated at Marion Military Institute and the U.S. Air Force Academy, he later served with the 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne). He has taught information warfare (SOFTWAR) at the National Defense University and the National Intelligence University. He was an outside consultant for the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment for 25 years. A pilot since he was 17, he is currently working on a book about the World War I efforts of Fiorello La Guardia, Giulio Douhet, and Gianni Caproni, which led directly to today’s U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command.

Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto