It seems the CNN staff is just as sick of the 24-hour Trump-a-thon as we are of watching it.
At a network town hall event Thursday, staffers complained about the excessive coverage of Donald Trump as well as CNN President Jeff Zucker’s directive to cover the presidential candidate ad nauseam, The Wrap’s Jordan Chariton reports.
Anyone who’s tuned in to CNN lately will know what the staff is upset about. The network airs Trump rallies and press conferences in full -- regardless of their news value -- and continues to dedicate precious airtime to segments about Trump’s hair or his latest Twitter outburst.
In a shocking display of the channel’s priorities, CNN even bumped Anderson Cooper’s moving special about Hurricane Katrina for a Trump press conference in which nothing happened.
As John Sides at The Washington Post has pointed out, the media's obsessive coverage of the reality TV star is precisely the reason he has risen in the polls.
“It’s tempting to think that each surge is somehow the result of each candidate’s idiosyncratic appeal to Republican voters,” Sides writes. “But a simpler explanation is this: when a pollster interrupts people’s lives and asks them about a presidential primary that doesn’t formally begin for months, a significant number of people will mention whichever candidate happens to be in the news these days.”
CNN has basically provided Trump with hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, of free advertising.
Of course, Trump thinks he should be the one who’s getting paid. “Jeff is a friend of mine, but if I didn't get ratings, he would not have all Trump all the time,” he recently told The Hollywood Reporter. “He should pay me a fortune, right? They should all pay me for this. I'm doing this for nothing.”
On Thursday, Trump also sent a letter to Zucker demanding that the network, which is charging 40 times its regular rate for ads during the presidential debate, donate the profits to veterans groups.
Zucker responded to the criticism from staff by saying, “We are not perfect,” The Wrap reports.
He also said he had decided to move the Hurricane Katrina special because Cooper was on vacation at the time, which doesn’t really make sense -- the network, which had promoted the special heavily in advance, surely knew about the anchor’s upcoming vacation. And as The Wrap’s Chariton points out, it was pre-taped anyway.