Climate change and the missing Malaysian flight are important to CNN. The Obama administration's continued evasion of serious investigation into the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, not so much.
At least that's what Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, told a New York Times reporter at the Deadline Club's annual awards dinner Monday night.
“We’re not going to be shamed into [Benghazi coverage] by others who have political beliefs that want to try to have temper tantrums to shame other news organizations into covering something,” Zucker said. “If it’s of real news value, we’ll cover it."
CNN President Jeff Zucker at the Museum of Modern Art on September 3, 2013 in New York City. (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
Instead of covering Benghazi, CNN focused an inordinate amount of airtime on the essentially-static story of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, "ignoring most other stories to report on the missing flight even when no new information is coming in and it seems like speculation is the only option," as Mediaite put it.
Zucker defended that choice.
"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," Zucker said. "That's why we devoted the resources that we did to it."
He also said he hopes to expand the network's coverage of climate change issues, while acknowledging that CNN's audience doesn't seem to care much for the topic.
"Climate change is one of those stories that deserves more attention, that we all talk about," Zucker 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."
Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter