CEO of CNN's Parent Company Admits Pandemic Was 'Really Good' for Failing Network's Ratings


Jason Kilar, the CEO of CNN parent company Time Warner, is in hot water after he said Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic has been a cash cow for the liberal network.

“It turns out the pandemic is a pretty big part of the news cycle, and that’s not going away anytime soon,” Kilar said at a news conference Thursday.

“And so there’s no doubt that from a political drama perspective, that’s different,” he continued. “I’d say in many ways that’s good for our society.

“But I think if you take a look at the ratings and the performance, it’s going well. And I think it’s going well because, A, the team at CNN is doing a fantastic job, and B, it turns out that the pandemic and the way that we can help inform and contextualize the pandemic, it turns out it’s really good for ratings.”

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Joe Flint with The Wall Street Journal shared the comments on Twitter and compared Kilar to former CBS News head Les Moonves, who was excoriated for saying in 2016 that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”

Kilar found himself in damage control mode and responded to Flint directly.

“I agree Joe. I would like nothing more than for this pandemic to be well behind us. I mean that with every fiber in my body. I wish I could go back and be more thoughtful about my communication,” he wrote Thursday on Twitter.

He also offered an apology, saying, “I am sorry for the sentence and for uttering it. … Thx for highlighting it and holding me accountable.”

Does anyone out there really believe Kilar was glad to be held accountable? Yeah, right.

Truthfully, Kilar wasn’t wrong. Events such as a major public health crisis the magnitude of the global coronavirus pandemic naturally attract viewers who are seeking out information. But TV news networks, as much as they like to portray themselves as noble enterprises, are in the business of making money.

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Viewers drive up ad prices, and the dollars flow in from there. Kilar was guilty of saying out loud what anyone in his position would be thinking.

CNN definitely needed a shot in the arm after an abysmal 2019. In April of that year, ratings had dropped 26 percent from the same month a year prior, according to Nielsen Media Research. By April 2020, the pandemic had grabbed the country’s attention like nothing had since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

CNN, per what Kilar asserted, profited handsomely from the crisis — as it did with Trump’s candidacy and eventually his presidency — for a while.

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The question here is, what did CNN do this past year with its platform when it had an opportunity to use its influence to keep people informed?

We know the network engaged in irresponsible, hyperbolic and downright false reporting — as it did throughout Trump’s entire term in office.

This is what corporate media is: insensitive, self-serving, dishonest and agenda-driven. This is CNN.

The CNN agenda for Trump was to ramp up the fear, false reporting and partisan attacks calculated to undermine him, and by proxy, the country.

The agenda for the coronavirus pandemic from the tipoff was to craft fearful narratives to keep people coming back for more while also furthering the main goal, which was to vanquish Trump.

CNN pushed a narrative that Trump was irresponsible in his handling of the pandemic and that Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was the country’s true example of leadership.

A year later, Cuomo is a disgraced and defeated man who sentenced elderly New Yorkers to their deaths in nursing homes and then lied about it, according to reports.

We can now see CNN backpedaling.

CNN’s golden boy — whose brother, Chris Cuomo, is a network host — is also now facing mounting accusations of sexual harassment. The network presumably is trying to avoid that land mine as much as possible. CNN announced Chris Cuomo no longer will be covering his brother extensively the way he did a year ago.

Viewers won’t be treated to any more brotherly shenanigans like this:

While CNN and Chris Cuomo were berating Trump and playing with studio props, Trump’s Operation Warp Speed in 2020 brought about the development and distribution of vaccines to help people survive the pandemic.

CNN smeared Trump every step of the way, but its hosts are largely mum now that President Joe Biden is making a quagmire of the pandemic and other issues.

Prior to the release of vaccines and even to this day, CNN has portrayed the pandemic as a perilous situation in which everyone is constantly at risk of imminent death — thanks to the alleged ineptitude of the Trump administration and Trump’s irresponsible non-mask-wearing supporters.

None of the coverage has aged well, and Kilar’s ratings celebration shows us just how detached Time Warner/CNN was from Americans over the last year.

The pandemic, per reported numbers, has killed more than a half-million Americans. It’s impossible to know what is in Kilar’s heart, but he apparently didn’t mind celebrating what all that misery was able to accomplish for his company’s bottom line.

As factual as Kilar’s comments were, it would have been better for him had he not uttered them — at least not outside of a corporate board meeting. He and his company no doubt enjoyed profits while people died or struggled financially thanks to the lockdowns.

But at least now everyone knows what Time Warner executives were thinking while the health crisis and the government response devastated this nation.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.