CNN President: We Won’t Be ‘Shamed’ Into Covering Benghazi

May 20, 2014 3:36 p.m.

CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker on Monday said that the network probably won’t be covering the House select committee to investigate Benghazi.

“We’re not going to be shamed into it by others who have political beliefs that want to try to have temper tantrums to shame other news organizations into covering something,” he said when asked if CNN would cover the committee during an interview at a Deadline Club dinner, as recorded by Capital New York. “If it’s of real news value, we’ll cover it.”

Zucker also addressed the network’s round-the-clock coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane and how CNN will approach news after the plane era.

“If I take a step back from our coverage of the Malaysian plane’s disappearance, I’m incredibly comfortable with it. I believed early on, right from the start, that it was an enormously important story: an American-made Boeing jet liner, with Rolls Royce engines with 239 people, disappears into thin air,” he said. “That’s why we devoted the resources that we did to it.”

But when asked by the moderator, New York Times television reporter Bill Carter, if there were “any mistakes made” in the plane coverage, Zucker brought up CNN host Don Lemon’s black hole theory.

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“He was being facetious, but it did not come off that way,” he said. “And he knows that if he could do it over again, he wouldn’t quite present it that way.”

And now that CNN’s coverage of the missing plane is winding down, Zucker said they’ll start to introduce new programming aimed at a younger audience.

“So we’re still there whenever that happens, but we’re going to supplement that with some different kind of storytelling,” Zucker said of the network’s plane coverage going forward.

In addition to being mocked for its breathless coverage of Flight 370, CNN has also been under fire for the way it has covered climate change. Zucker on Monday defended the network’s approach to the issue.

“Climate change is one of those stories that deserves more attention, that we all talk about,” he said, “but we haven’t figured out how to engage the audience in that story in a meaningful way. When we do do those stories, there does tend to be a tremendous amount of lack of interest on the audience’s part.”

[H/t Mediaite]

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