CNN Head Jeff Zucker Teases Run for NYC Mayor in 2021

Zucker tells NY Times he likes “a challenge”

CNN president Jeff Zucker teased in an interview over the weekend that he might be considering a run for mayor of New York City.

Asked by the New York Times’ Ben Smith whether he’s considering throwing his hat in the ring for the 2021 mayoral election, Zucker “paused, and said he didn’t want his answer to cause a storm of news,” according to Smith.

What Zucker did tell Smith was this: “New York City is going to need a very strong mayor in the aftermath of this, and I always like a challenge.”

Current mayor Bill de Blasio must step down because of term limits, leaving the field open to a newcomer.

When Zucker referred to New York needing leadership “in the aftermath of this,” he was referring to the events that have bolstered his network’s ratings (and lead to his interview with Smith): the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and widespread protest in American cities following the death of George Floyd while in police custody. Mayor de Blasio has faced criticism for his handling of both and while American cities have seen an economic decline, mass deaths, protests over shutdown orders, the criminalization of black people and police brutality, cable news has seen an uptick in ratings.

As protests against systemic racism and police brutality continue in the aftermath of George Floyd’s Memorial Day death in police custody, police have even been targeting journalists. Zucker himself fielded a call from the governor of Minnesota Friday, who personally apologized for a CNN field crew and reporter being arrested live on air.

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