David Rhodes to Journalists: ‘Remain Calm’

By A.J. Katz Comment

Steve Bannon’s comments to the New York Times that the media should “keep its mouth shut, and listen” sparked a good deal of outrage across the media landscape. The comment was addressed by CBS News president David Rhodes and CNN president Jeff Zucker yesterday during a conversation with Yahoo News reporter Matt Bai at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. Curator of the Harvard Nieman Foundation, Ann Marie Lipinski, was also part of the panel, which focused on how to properly cover President Trump.

“There’s always a tendency at the start of an administration, and in some ways this one is no different, to try to take messages around the press and directly to their audience,” Rhodes said. “There’s a give and take that goes on, and that give and take is going on right now.”

Rhodes admitted that he indeed read the New York Times interview with great interest, and mentioned that Bannon “has a job to do.” But he continued by saying “We also have a job to do, and if we focus on what our job is, we’ll hopefully do good work in that area.”

Zucker had some more pointed words for Bannon: “The irony of this is that Steve Bannon actually had to call the New York Times to say that the New York Times was ineffectual and had lost its way. The only way he was able to get that message out to the public was actually to do it through the New York Times.”

“We’re 6 days into a 4 year term, but it feels like 6 years,” continued Zucker. “As often happens in newsrooms, journalists will email this story around and go ‘Oh my God.’ My advice, like what David said, is: ‘Do your job.’ Don’t take the bait, don’t worry about him, just do your job.”