CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage made headlines when drunken co-host Andy Cohen stood beside anchor Anderson Cooper and blasted outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in a viral moment that some critics feel “might be the only time of year” the liberal network is watchable while others think the alcohol-fueled rant was inappropriate for a news organization littered with scandal.
“This is just another example of the CNN culture having no guardrails. The CNN brass allowed the situation from which this rant emerged,” DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall told Fox News Digital.
Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor said “the garbage that CNN does every year on New Year’s Eve is not new” but he doesn’t blame staffers for needing an adult beverage after the humiliating year the network suffered through in 2021.
The liberal network was forced to fire its biggest star, Chris Cuomo, after he was caught using his media industry connection to help his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, combat sexual misconduct allegations while downplaying his role to both viewers and CNN executives. The network also welcomed back legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin after a degrading masturbation scandal, saw a senior producer get charged with child sex crimes and lost a second producer amid an investigation into “serious allegations involving potential juvenile victims.” All of the embarrassing scandals came as the network struggled to attract viewers in the Biden era.
“If I worked for CNN I’d probably drink a lot, too,” Gainor told Fox News Digital.
Cooper and Cohen famously drink throughout the evening during the network’s New Year’s Eve coverage, with the “AC 360” namesake often going viral for his reactions after downing shots of hard alcohol alongside his hard-partying buddy.
“Frankly, it might be the only time of year CNN is watchable,” Gainor joked before taking a more serious tone.
“Anderson Cooper has no claim that he’s above it all. Remember when comedian Kathy Griffin simulated oral sex on Cooper back on New Year’s Eve in 2012? They had her back on after that, only firing her after her horrendous attack on Donald Trump,” Gainor said. “This is just what CNN has become — a clown show.”
Back in 2017, CNN terminated its agreement with Griffin after the comedian’s disturbing photo shoot with a bloodied Trump mask made to look like a severed head of the then-sitting president. At the time, Cooper said he was “appalled” by the stunt. Prior to Griffin’s firing, she was known for stripping, using profanity and other lewd acts that made headlines during CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage.
Cohen replaced Griffin and has since generated headlines for other reasons. This year, shortly after the Times Square ball dropped at midnight on Saturday, Eric Adams was sworn in as New York City mayor, replacing de Blasio after two tumultuous terms.
De Blasio has faced heavy criticism from both sides of the aisle on a multitude of issues, including over the rise in violent crime and stringent COVID-19 policies under his City Hall. An inebriated Cohen was among those gleeful to see de Blasio exit office, mocking him for “his victory lap dance after four years of the crappiest term as the mayor of New York.”
“The only thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on is what a horrible mayor he has been. So sayonara sucker! 2022! It’s a new year, because guess what? I have a feeling I’m going to be standing right here next year, and you know who I’m not going to be looking at, dancing as the city comes apart? You!” Cohen rambled.
Cooper appeared alternately amused and uncomfortable as he attempted several times to stop Cohen from going off, and some observers who typically criticize CNN found it to be a breath of fresh air.
“Andy Cohen’s rant about Bill de Blasio was unexpected, particularly for CNN which tends to downplay Democrat politician problems. Whether it was alcohol-induced or just a moment of spontaneous candor, Cohen’s political honesty in that moment was refreshing,” Cornell Law School professor William A. Jacobson told Fox News Digital.
“While I don’t encourage CNN personalities to drink on the job, CNN should consider why an apparent drunken rant was the network’s political moment of the year,” Jacobson said.
Columbia Journalism School professor Bill Grueskin evoked broadcast news legends to mock CNN.
“Not to get all nostalgic or anything but does anyone else remember that time Walter Cronkite got s—faced with Eric Sevareid and blasted John Lindsay on live TV,” Grueskin joked.
“That business has changed,” journalist Quentin Hardy responded.
McCall, a frequent critic of CNN, understands that New Year’s Eve coverage is designed to be less serious than other evenings but feels CNN should still resemble a news network.
“Sure, it’s New Year’s Eve and some lighthearted revelry is in order, but the Cohen outburst just didn’t belong on the once-proud cable channel. And once Cohen’s rant took off, nobody in the production center apparently had enough sense to cut his microphone or switch to another shot,” McCall said. “When you let the hosts get out of control, the channel should expect some out-of-control content.”
Cohen admitted he was inebriated the following morning on Twitter.
Fox News’ Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report.