Chris Wallace recently left his long-time, top position as the host of “Fox News Sunday.” Being the principled newsman that he is, he chose to run over to the shining jewel of journalism that is CNN to be part of their new streaming service. Since that announcement, we haven’t heard much of anything from Wallace.
But apparently, he’s speaking up about Jeff Zucker’s departure. As RedState reported, the former CNN head was recently forced out after he failed to disclose a long-term affair with his chief lieutenant (also a CNN employee). Allegations that Zucker and his mistress colluded with Andrew Cuomo have surfaced as well.
Per Radar Online, which broke the Zucker story weeks before Zucker’s resignation, Wallace is not happy about the development.
In wake of the decision from WarnerMedia suits to oust Jeff Zucker, Wallace is said to be “second guessing his decision” even though he is believed to be earning $8 to $10 million per year.
“Chris is the type of person who makes it known if he doesn’t like something,” said a TV industry insider.
“He went over there for Zucker and now Zucker is gone. Wallace feels that he has been stiffed. He’s got no staff, no Executive Producer and the guy he gave up a prized gig for has just walked out the door.”
Zucker is said to have allayed Wallace’s concerns about two heavyweight figures at CNN: Jake Tapper, the host of The Lead, and Sam Feist, the cable giant’s Washington bureau chief and senior vice president.
While I’m assured Wallace is a brilliant journalist, if he went over to CNN based on the word of Jeff Zucker, that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of his decision-making abilities. Wallace was already staring at a step down in stature going to a streaming-service program at a far lesser network, compared to being the face of Fox News (at least for the hard news side of things).
Further, the cultural issues at CNN have not been a secret. When Wallace left months ago, it was obvious that things were toxic at the “most trusted name in news.” Since then, multiple scandals have been exposed, from Chris Cuomo’s sexual harassment to multiple producers caught abusing minors. By contrast, Zucker’s transgressions seemed tame, but they were still an indictment of how rotten things were at the top.
Apparently, Wallace was counting on Zucker to insulate him from all the mess at CNN, including the territorial predations of Jake Tapper. That’s obviously not going to happen now, and Wallace has been left adrift. From the sound of things, there isn’t even much framework in place of his new show yet, and with the intra-company battles likely to heat up at the rudderless network, Wallace may not have the ability to do anything but cower.
Meanwhile, Fox News is dominating the ratings and thriving. Will this become another Megyn Kelly situation? It sure looks that way, and while Kelly had enough talent to reset and redefine herself, I’m not sure the 74-year-old Wallace has the time or ability to do that.
Honestly, I’m perplexed that Wallace ever thought this was a good idea. If he went to CNN for Zucker, what did he expect? Yes, Wallace is a Democrat and perhaps wanted to be on a network with a more leftward bent. Still, I bet he was a lot more comfortable getting the “serious newsman” treatment at Fox News than he is now in his current situation at CNN.
Regardless, Wallace is learning a valuable lesson right now about what CNN actually is. Lucky for him, he’s got a fat salary to make him feel a little better.