Opening The Cafferty File

By Alissa Krinsky 

Jack Cafferty‘s fans want more.

More face time. says the CNN ‘Cafferty File’ commentator deserves his own weekday newscast.

What is it about Cafferty that attracts a following? “I think people sense a certain honesty about me, that maybe I’m not a phony,” Cafferty says. “And television is full of phonies.”


For now, though, no newscast. Fans will have to settle for some printed word.

Cafferty’s new book, “It’s Getting Ugly Out There: The Frauds, Bunglers, Liars, and Losers Who Are Hurting America” (out today), is kind of a long-form version of his The Situation Room shout-outs on public figures and issues.

It’s also a rare glimpse into the author’s private life. Cafferty remembers thinking, “If I’m going to do this, I might as well do a book that has some substance. My background is different than the average person’s.”

His background shaped his perspective. “My tendency is to question authority and to make up my own mind.” Those opinions stir his loyal viewers, who write emails in droves. He reads some of them on-air. “It’s an interesting way to make a living,” he says.

Making a living is critical to Jack Cafferty, whose parents weren’t able to do so consistently. They were, instead, consumed by alcoholism, depression, and divorce.

As a result, Cafferty has always considered his successful career – which has included prominent anchor jobs in local New York news and on CNNfn — essentially a way to provide for his wife and four daughters. “It’s the way I make my living,” he often told his children. “This is no different than your friend’s father who’s an electrician or a doctor.”

But being a commentator is “more fun” than traditional news, Cafferty admits, and he credits CNN for giving him license to express pretty much whatever he wants. The network is “the best of what’s out there,” he says, rare praise from the man described in his book’s jacket as an ‘equal-opportunity curmudgeon’.

“Inside all of us is the desire to tell ‘the boss’ to go to hell,” he says, “and I get to do that (on-air).” Every day. And his fans love it.