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Variety Updates Story on Jeff Zucker, Former CNN President

The entertainment publication Variety has made revisions to an article it published about former CNN chief Jeff Zucker. The initial article depicted Zucker badmouthing his successor while trying to buy the news organization that fired him. However, none of the changes made in the revised article directly affected what was written about Zucker. He has called for the story to be retracted.

The article by Tatiana Siegel, which was published online on Tuesday, relied on confidential sources and made several claims without attributing them to named sources. Zucker’s team strongly denied the allegations and criticized Variety for publishing “countless anecdotes and alleged incidents that never happened.”

The use of confidential sources by journalists is fraught with dangers, as it leaves readers to decide whom to believe. In this case, several people mentioned in the article, including Tim Alberta of The Atlantic and Dylan Byers of Puck, denied the accuracy of the claims made about them.

Variety’s co-editors-in-chief, Cynthia Littleton and Ramin Setoodeh, issued a statement expressing their support for the article and defending their award-winning reporter. However, the revised article now includes the specific denials made by Alberta and Byers.

The story alleges that Zucker tried to buy CNN and outlines various efforts made by him or on his behalf to convince investors to join him in the endeavor. Zucker’s team maintains that these allegations are “unequivocally false.” The revised article also introduces the theory that unknown investors were using Zucker’s name without his knowledge to approach Warner Bros. Discovery about buying CNN.

The controversy surrounding this story not only highlights the risks of relying on confidential sources, but it also raises questions about the quality of journalism in today’s media landscape. Both Zucker’s team and the co-editors of Variety have staked their positions, leaving readers to decide whom to believe.

It remains to be seen whether Variety will take further action in response to Zucker’s calls for retraction, or if this will simply be another contentious chapter in the ongoing battle for media credibility.

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