Variety’s “Battle Over CNN” feature launched a full media brawl

It’s been 48 hours and the media world is still abuzz about… diverse A feature about CNN was allegedly riddled with inaccuracies and sparked outrage from many of its sponsors. Tuesday story-written by Tatiana Siegel– Broadcasting jeff sugarthe former chairman of CNN who was ousted last year, as on a desperate and bitter quest to reclaim the CNN throne, with anecdotes about him traveling the world in search of an international network of investors, including Jeff BezosAnd alex soros, And the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.

Fast forward and Siegel’s attempt to expose the mess appears to have sparked a full-blown media feud. Zucker spokesperson, Raisa Heller, denied that Zucker had discussed buying CNN with Bezos — or anyone else — and said Zucker had “never met or spoken to” Soros or Abramovich. “It is amazing to read a piece that is so blatantly and powerfully false,” Heller said in a statement. Vanity Fair. “On numerous occasions, we made it clear to the reporter and her editors that they were planning on publishing countless anecdotes and alleged incidents that never happened. They did it anyway.” (They were asked to comment on the response to the story, including calls for a retraction, a diverse said the spokesperson Vanity Fair“,”diverse Stand by for our investigative story on CNN written by one of the best journalists in the business. “)

Aside from Zucker’s alleged takeover attempt, Siegel is also affected by what she describes as Zucker’s “climate of betrayal” at CNN, as well as Zucker’s “behind-the-scenes attempts to undermine” both. Chris LightAnd his successor David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery. Zaslav shot Licht in June, after a A 15,000-word profile on blistering-written by Atlantic Ocean‘s Tim Alberta—From Licht’s disastrous year at the top of cable news.

However, the diverse The article suggests that Licht fell victim to cheap reporting, and questions journalistic “liberties” Alberta took, such as “unofficial key details and quotes[that]were used in the records”. Siegel also targeted Puck’s Dylan Byers, who relentlessly chronicled the Licht era (and worked at CNN under Zucker), making him a character in the Alberta piece. It specifically alleged that Byers’ “conflict of interest runs much deeper than his kinship with a former boss,” noting that Zucker and Beck are represented by Heller and asserting that Byers failed to disclose that Zucker spoke to Buck about a potential investment in the startup — details mentioned by The New York Times Last month.

A torrent of violent reactions followed among senior officials in the media: Atlantic Editor in Chief Jeffrey Goldberg He told CNN on Tuesday that “Siegel has been informed before Atlantic Ocean that the charges were completely false, but nevertheless decided to discredit Alberta.” According to Byers, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Puck John Kelly also “Sent an email to the author and editors of a Variety article on Tuesday outlining the patently false claims.” and on Wednesday, TheWrap mentioned that “Penske Media Corporation, owner of Variety, has been contacted by Zucker’s team to request a retracted release of the article”.

Meanwhile, Byers and Alberta took to Twitter to refute various sides of the story. alberta in a The series of tweets She went point by point, from the number of meetings Siegel said Alberta had with Licht, to her claim that Licht’s now-infamous gym quote—that “Zucker can’t do that shit”—was actually something Alberta said and Licht repeated. “If Variety had true editorial standards, it would never have published this article,” Alberta books. Similarly, Byers on Wednesday claimed that the opening scene in Siegel’s piece — a confrontation between a teary-eyed Zucker and Zaslav at a Miami Beach hotel — was riddled with factual errors. He also addressed Siegel’s claims of conflict of interest, acknowledging that Heller represented Puck but claiming he was “totally unaware” of Zucker’s conversations with his business owner about a potential investment “until it was reported in the press. (Siegel was told that too, but he didn’t include it).”

diverse He is, for now, sitting. Despite public pleas to correct the record, CNN Oliver Darcy mentioned Wed that the outlet “resisted taking any such action, quietly removing the widely criticized Tatiana Siegel-written feature from its homepage online.” But the apparent errors, Darcy writes, “raise serious questions about the editing process in diverse that allowed Siegel feature deployment. “

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