Home » » Watch your back, Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer! Your new boss, Ken Jautz, has Piers Morgan's back, but obviously not yours.

Watch your back, Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer! Your new boss, Ken Jautz, has Piers Morgan's back, but obviously not yours.

Written By mista sense on Monday, September 27, 2010 | 3:09 PM

Mediaite's Steve Krakauer scores an interview with Ken Jautz, the new chief of CNN in which Jautz puts Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer on notice--or maybe two weeks' notice.   Interestingly, The Krak seems not to have noticed, which is why he put on a bland headline, "New CNN Head Ken Jautz: 'It's Important To Be Open To New Ideas,'" when the headline should have been, "Jautz embraces Piers Morgan, distances himself from 'Parker Spitzer.'"  (That's Jautz pictured above, with a visual aid.)

In the early course of the interview, Jautz says all the right things, e.g., "I'd like CNN to be as engaging and lively in its programming as it always has been informative in its reporting."  Sounds great, even as Jautz sticks to the Jon Klein line that CNN keeps its commitment to "strong, non-partisan journalism." One can imagine that Klein is still lurking around the CNN premises, so Jautz has to make nicey-nice with his ex-boss. 

But now it gets interesting, as The Krak moves the convo over to CNN's two new shows, coming soon.  Since we will have to do some Kremlinology here, reading between the lines, let's roll the tape, or, er, the transcript:

Mediaite: You have two new shows starting, that certainly will be traced to Jon Klein. Would you say they’re safe?

Jautz: We are going to adhere to the programming moves and scheduling announced. Of course, we’ll be launching Parker Spitzer on October 4, and Piers Morgan after the turn of the year. I have been involved in the development of these shows, that Jon has led, all along. I was in the first meeting that Piers had at CNN and was an early advocate of that show. I could see in that meeting he was smart, dynamic and charismatic person, who fills the room, fills a set. I lived in the U.K. in the mid-90s when he was prominent newspaper editor and journalist there. I’ve been very familiar with his work for some time.


So here we see it: The Krak asks about the two new shows, and Jautz answers, somewhat stiffly, "We are going to adhere to the programming moves and scheduling announced. Of course, we'll be launching Parker Spitzer on October 4, and Piers Morgan after the turn of the year." Then, Jautz says, bravely, "I have been involved in the development of these shows, that Jon has led, all along."  Note the shift here: Jautz has "been involved."   Not much skin in that game!

But now note the way that Jautz shifts the discussion over to Morgan, leaving Parker and Spitzer out of the rest of the answer, indeed, out of the rest of the interview:

I was in the first meeting that Piers had at CNN and was an early advocate of that show. I could see in that meeting he was smart, dynamic and charismatic person, who fills the room, fills a set. I lived in the U.K. in the mid-90s when he was prominent newspaper editor and journalist there. I’ve been very familiar with his work for some time.

That's a lot of praise for Jautz to heap on Morgan, even as he leaves Parker and Spitzer in the dust.   Can you say, "showing favoritism"? 

Indeed, by emphasizing that he lived in England when Morgan became prominent, Jautz might even be signalling that he, Jautz, was the one who first thought up the idea of Morgan.  But of course, if that's what he had in mind, it would be unseemly to claim credit, however much deserved, so soon after Klein's departure.    But watch that space, because CNN flaks might well soon be spinning the idea that
"Parker Spitzer" was Klein's idea, while Morgan was Jautz's. 

Maybe Krak did notice the way Jautz played up Morgan, and not "Parker Spitzer," and was merely too polite to play "gotcha" with Jautz.  Understandable.  After all, Krak needs Jautz, so he can't publicly challenge Jautz on his communications methodology--because he needs him as a source.   But the Cable Gamer doesn't have to worry about staying on the good side of anybody, so she can call 'em as she sees 'em.

Fearless and unafraid, that's me.  And yet also shy.

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