Jeff Zucker Says CNN’s Critics Are Just Jealous Of Their Awesome Coverage

CNN is in the midst of a much-needed makeover, and as the network makes attempts toward reforming its image and improving ratings, there are bound to be a few flops. But new president Jeff Zucker is taking recent criticism in stride, playfully suggesting that anyone ragging on CNN is just jealous.

Most recently, CNN took a gamble by hitting the Carnival Cruise story hard, and from every conceivable angle. They were universally criticized by others in the media industry for their relentless coverage of the story, primarily over the idea that the Carnival story wasn’t “hard news” and that there were other stories the network could have gone all-in on.

At a lunch/presser at the Atlanta Press Club, Zucker addressed CNN‘s latest critics from MSNBC to Jon Stewart.

He said that the Carnival Cruise story was important for its elements of human drama, and reasoned that negative reception of the network’s coverage was only coming from jealous competitors.

Via PBS MediaShift:

“Just because Jon Stewart makes fun of it doesn’t mean he’s right,” he said. And yes, he added, he considers “The Daily Show” a competitor.

Zucker then compared CNN to “that spare tire in the trunk” because people remember it when they need it. Zucker also touched on social media, calling Twitter his “frenemy,” and digital advertising. The talk mostly focused on CNN‘s future, which has been a topic of much speculation over the past several months, if not the entirety of last year.

On CNN‘s place in the media:

“Just because you’re in the middle, does not give you the right to be boring,” he said. “Too often, we haven’t been vibrant enough.” He said to expect a new morning show, more documentaries, less prime-time celebrity news, and a broader selection of non-fiction programming to compete with Discovery, A&E, History, Food Network and other channels.

You can read the full report here.

Do you watch CNN? What do you think the network should focus on? What kinds of changes should they make?

[Image via: Robert Scoble, Wikimedia Commons]