The icons of business and politics far too frequently fail to grasp the idea of establishing a proper tone.
In the latest example, Jason Kilar, CEO of CNN’s parent company WarnerMedia, said during a conference that the coronavirus pandemic is “really good for ratings.”
Talk about tone deaf.
It doesn’t matter the context; you just have to be better.
“It turns out the pandemic is a pretty big part of the news cycle and that’s not going away any time soon,” Kilar said during the conference.
“If you take a look at the ratings and the performance, it’s going well. I think it’s going well because A. the team at CNN is doing a fantastic job and B. it turns out the pandemic and the way that we can inform and help contextualize the business is really good for ratings.”
Kilar apologized on Twitter after the Wall Street Journal’s Joe Flint related Kilar’s comments to those made by Les Moonves in 2016 (that Donald Trump “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”).
Seemingly in hasty retreat mode, Kilar tweeted to Flint:
“I agree Joe. I would like nothing more than for this pandemic to be well behind us. … I wish I could go back and be more thoughtful about my communication.
“I am sorry for the sentence and for uttering it. My apologies. Thx for highlighting it and holding me accountable.”
Most major television outlets suffered ratings declines in 2020 but, according to Variety, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC were up.
CNN and Fox News Channel split the prime-time ratings title in February, with Fox News winning among total viewers and CNN taking first place among viewers 25-54, the demographic most valued by advertisers. CNN’s ratings were its best-ever February.