Former CNN boss Jeff Zucker was confronted by CNN host Michael Smerconish in a media conversation, telling him it was “partisan” not to give much airtime to the Hunter Biden laptop scandal.
Zucker and Smerconish were joined by former MSNBC boss Phil Griffin for a talk on the state of the media at the UN convention in Philadelphia.
The convention was billed as “an exploration of political reform to improve our electoral systems and policy ideas to run a divided country.”
Smerconish snatched the two former bosses at one point about the Hunter Biden controversy and asked if they “regretted” the coverage — or lack thereof — that they were giving the story.
CNN host Michael Smerconish reprimanded former CNN boss Jeff Zucker for a lack of airtime for the controversy surrounding Hunter Biden’s laptop, saying it looked “partisan.”
Zucker, left, said he does not disagree with Smerconish’s assessment, but also argued that the network did not have enough facts to accurately cover the scandal.
The laptop that Hunter Biden allegedly left at a Delaware repair shop contained tons of incriminating photos, videos and texts, including extensive dealings with prostitutes.
Biden, who is constantly struggling with drug addiction, is often seen naked in the videos and photos on the laptop
“I think the Hunter laptop was worth more broadcast than it got right before the election,” Smerconish said.
Zucker first claimed the network “didn’t know enough about it” and also said they “handled it…to the extent you would have thought was appropriate.”
He went on to say that he didn’t think it was “legitimate criticism” before asking Smerconish if he was doing the story.
Smerconish said he “talked about it at length,” but also said Zucker was right in not giving the issue much airtime itself.
“I think I look bad not talking about it at all. I should have said something about that damn thing,’ he said.
Smerconish then said that, although he didn’t know all the facts, “I think we looked partisan by not venting it,” to which Zucker replied, “I disagree.”
He also asked Griffin about the scandal, to which Griffin replied, “He was never arrested. The Justice Department investigated, never reported it until he’s the son of a candidate. I don’t think it’s a main story until that happens.”
The conversation then moved on to the topic of former President Donald Trump, and Smerconish once again horrified Zucker over the coverage.
Smerconish asked Zucker if he regrets “giving Trump as much air as you gave him in 2016?”
‘Sure I will. I’ve publicly admitted this,” Zucker replied.
Phil Griffin, former MSNBC president, was also asked about the Hunter Biden controversy, but replied that he doesn’t think it’s a “main story” until Biden is arrested
Zucker had been president of CNN worldwide since 2013 before leaving his $6 million-a-year position for not disclosing a consensual relationship with another CNN employee
Republicans have been asking questions about Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine while his father was Barack Obama’s vice president, as well as about his business in China, which is described in the numerous emails found on a laptop hard drive that he allegedly left at a repair shop in Delaware.
Zucker, who left the network after his affair with staffer Allison Gollust was revealed, has seen a staff change at his former network by new boss Chris Licht.
Light has reportedly tried to shift the network from opinions and more to hard news.
Zucker had served as global president of CNN since 2013 before leaving his $6 million-a-year position on February 2.
He admitted to his employees that he had violated the company’s Code of Business Conduct when he failed to disclose a “consensual relationship.”
Chris Licht has taken over the network and is trying to shake off his reputation for bias
Zucker and Gollust, 49, have been working together for 20 years. They claim their relationship became romantic during the pandemic, but others say it predates COVID.
Media sources have said the affair was an “open secret” for more than 10 years — claiming that even the doormen of their Manhattan apartment building tried to keep Allison and Zucker’s now ex-wife from interacting.
Both Zucker and Gollust are divorced. Zucker and his wife, Caryn, split in 2018 and Gollust is said to have separated from her husband, Billy, around the same time, if not earlier.
Zucker and Gollust lived in the same apartment building on the Upper East Side with their respective families until Jeff sold his family in 2020 after he and his ex-wife Caryn Nathanson split.
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