Friday, May 27th, 2022

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Zucker’s departure drew a line under a nine-year turn at the helm of CNN, where he delivered outsized ratings and profits by relentlessly blurring news and entertainment. And no one delivered bigger ratings or bigger profits on Zucker’s watch than the most divisive figure in US politics in living memory: former US President Donald Trump. When Zucker was head of NBC Entertainment, he played a pivotal role in raising Trump’s profile with the American public when he greenlit The Apprentice – a reality TV show the real estate mogul hosted for 14 years. In 2015, when Trump announced he was running for the White House, Zucker saw an infotainment bonanza in the making. In a crowded field of Republican candidates, Trump was given disproportionate airtime on CNN. Whenever Trump spoke, a CNN camera was there to take it live. The cameras even started rolling early, showing an empty podium at Trump rallies, building anticipation, and then running with uninterrupted coverage as Trump spoke to his legions of devoted supporters. Zucker defended CNN’s Trump coverage at the time by invoking the network’s commitment to freedom of speech. But he later admitted in a 2020 Retro Report documentary, Enemies of the People, that he may have been shortsighted. “Donald Trump would say outrageous things, or say things that weren’t true, and it just became accepted as, ‘Oh, that’s what he does’,” said Zucker. “Not calling that out more for what it was, and then holding the other side more accountable, that was probably a mistake.” But CNN and its viewers could not turn away from Trump, especially after the network took a highly critical tone towards his presidency, and Trump took to calling CNN “fake news” – a mudslinging match that kept eyeballs glued to screens. In 2020, CNN had its strongest ratings year on record thanks to wall-to-wall coverage of Trump and the COVID-19 pandemic. The run continued through January 2021 – the month Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol building. But the ratings juggernaut fizzled out once Trump left office. It’s unclear where CNN will roam in the post-Zucker era. But its pre-Zucker founding formula of unbiased, robust coverage of important domestic and international events was not nearly as profitable. Rogan has also pledged to his best “to balance things out” on his Spotify podcast. In the meantime, it’s up to the content-consuming public to decide where they get their news and information. And should they tire of divisiveness, they can always choose to tune out, put on a classic playlist, and “keep on rockin’ in the free world” on a platform they find less objectionable. The bodies of 16 people were found in two different cities in Mexico’s Zacatecas state on Saturday amid a turf war between two powerful drug cartels,62125,62126,62127,62128,62129,62130,62131,62132,62133,62134,62135,62111,62112,62124,62113,62114,62115,62116,62117,62118,62119,62120,62121,62122,62123,62137,62138,62139,62140,62141,62143,62144,62148,62145,62146–182600658/

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