Respected professor blasts 'once-proud' CNN in scathing op-ed: 'CNN lost its way'

Respected DePauw University professor Jeffrey McCall accused CNN of doubling down on sexual escapades in a piece that will surely draw the ire of the network’s president, Jeff Zucker.

McCall penned an op-ed for The Hill Friday headlined, “CNN lost its way in struggle to find an audience,” and blasted the increasingly liberal network for its recent programming decisions, such as promoting the anti-Trump Chris Cuomo.

McCall mocked CNN’s Anderson Cooper as seeking “to corner the market on interviewing shapely women who have been friendly with Trump” after the “AC 360” host sat down with both Playboy playmate Karen McDougal and porn actress Stormy Daniels.

“CNN’s warped obsession with reporting about supposed adultery demonstrates a larger problem at the once-proud and groundbreaking channel,” McCall wrote.

With a primetime lineup of Cuomo and Cooper, “CNN will have back-to-back evening anchors representing elite, east coast, powerful families,” McCall said.

CNN will have back-to-back evening anchors representing elite, east coast, powerful families.

— DePauw University professor Jeffrey McCall

CNN recently announced that Cooper, the Vanderbilt family scion, will have his show slashed in half to make room for Cuomo, the son of Democrat icon Mario Cuomo and younger brother of New York’s powerful governor, Andrew.

“Yet CNN will still wonder why working class viewers and people in the heartland can’t relate to its on-air talent,” he added.

Cooper and Cuomo intersected in the early 1990s as wealthy scions at Yale, a Gothic stomping ground for the Northeast's most privileged, and both went on to careers at liberal ABC News, where they worked until their careers there faltered and they decamped to CNN.

Zucker, who helped increase Trump’s star power by greenlighting “The Apprentice” when he was an executive at NBC, has seemingly installed an anti-Trump programming strategy. The result has been a president of the United States who often refers to CNN as “fake news,” and a network filled with anchors who don’t exactly hide their disdain for Trump.

The professor also pointed out that “Daniels’s attorney, Michael Avenatti, gets more face time on CNN than some of the channel’s anchors,” and he doesn’t think Zucker’s network is doing a good job covering the sleazy stories.

Jeff Zucker’s CNN has become increasingly partisan during the Trump administration.

Jeff Zucker’s CNN has become increasingly partisan during the Trump administration.

“It has apparently not occurred to the CNN producers that Avenatti is playing them for all the publicity he can get,” McCall wrote. “There might well be journalism to be had in the sagas of McDougal and Daniels, but CNN has found little of it.”

McCall noted that sensationalism must eventually lead to substantive news to be considered actual journalism.

“A journalistic conclusion that Trump is a cad hardly moves the ‘this is news’ needle on the public barometer,” he wrote. “CNN’s focus is not on news, but on distracting itself and the nation’s news consumers with peripheral and sensational gibberish that fails to enhance the national dialogue.”

The op-ed also noted that CNN mentioned McDougal and Daniels significantly more often than the recently passed government spending bill, adding that the bill “isn’t photogenic,” and therefore not as critical to Zucker’s vision for the network as Playmates and porn stars.

McCall went on to bash CNN’s dismal ratings, mock its ‘the most trusted name in news” slogan and call out White House correspondent Jim Acosta for “working hard to be the Trump administration’s harshest antagonist.”

The scathing op-ed concludes by stating that America could use a down-the-middle cable news network, but McCall doesn’t think CNN is the answer “with the current leadership and current anchor talent in place.”