Dear readers, it is my somber task to inform you of a newly-endangered species whose population has apparently plummeted to near-extinction levels: the cable news legal commentator. Yes, indeed, it seems there is a tragic shortage of attorneys who are willing to undergo the burden of wearing in-ear monitors for agonizing minutes at a time in exchange for merely being able to promote themselves to millions of people on national television and cash an overly lucrative paycheck.
I mean, what explanation could there be for CNN’s awkward relaunch of Jeffrey Toobin other than they just can’t find any other lawyers to go on TV?
“In October, you were on a Zoom call with your colleagues from the New Yorker magazine,” Alisyn Camerota said to Toobin during a cringetastic segment on CNN Newsroom Thursday afternoon. “Everyone took a break for several minutes, during which time you were caught masturbating on camera. You were subsequently fired from that job, after 27 years of working there. And you, since then, have been on leave from CNN. Do I have all that right?
“You got it all right, sad to say,” Toobin replied, calling his actions “deeply moronic and indefensible.”
“What the hell were you thinking?” Camerota asked Toobin. We’d like to pose the same question to the network. What the hell are they thinking?
To be fair, Toobin does seem to be telling the truth that his risqué online exposure was unintentional, and it’s certainly far below some of the more shocking #MeToo tales that have plagued Hollywood and the media for years. The guy doesn’t deserve to be permanently barred from all opportunities to earn a living, but can’t the standard be a tiny bit higher than “thanks for not sexually assaulting any of your colleagues”?
Here’s Brian Stelter’s take on how their network handled Toobin’s Zoomtastrophe:
CNN took a different approach. The network said he asked for some time off “while he deals with a personal issue, which we have granted.” This turned into a leave of absence without any clear sign of whether he’d ultimately return.
Toobin’s viewers occasionally inquired about whether he’d be back on the air, and neither he nor CNN commented.
Some anchors and hosts at CNN also expressed a desire to have Toobin back on their shows, since he has been a leading legal voice on television for decades.
He’s “been a leading legal voice on television for decades”? Oh, OK then. I understand how difficult it must be to find attorneys who have enough of an ego to want to promote themselves on television.
I’ve never met Toobin. Maybe CNN is right to view him as irreplaceable. Maybe he really is an absolutely delightful man who’s always treated his colleagues with respect and who’s been a fine, upstanding citizen except for this one isolated aberration in an otherwise angelic life?
The chattering hordes of blue checks on Twitter weren’t inclined to grant any additional grace to the guy who has made “zoom dick” trend twice this millennium, and that’s two times too many.
Some of the things that won’t get you fired at CNN
1 – helping your brother cover up thousands of nursing home deaths
2- coaching your brother on how to deal with sexual harassment allegations.
3 – masterbating at a staff meeting.
— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) June 10, 2021
This is garbage.
Why does the media protect these old white male dinosaurs in this industry?
No woman on PLANET EARTH would be welcomed back on network tv after being caught masturbating in front of her colleagues.
What does working at a food bank have to do with this? https://t.co/ZTULvVsbnv
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) June 10, 2021
Well, neato. https://t.co/I9a13lGKqV
— Mary Katharine Ham (@mkhammer) June 10, 2021
Here’s what I don’t get about Toobin: Which viewers clamored for him to come back? Did moms in Topeka mutter, “No Toobin? Might as well switch to HGTV.” Did CNN lose a massive 20-34-yo female demo during the Toobin Interregnum?
— Jon Gabriel (@exjon) June 10, 2021
Glad CNN has brought back Zoom masturbator and legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, the only legal analyst out there.
— Cody Johnston (@drmistercody) June 10, 2021
CNN couldn’t find any other legal analyst but Jeffrey Toobin to come on their network.
Hard times at CNN. https://t.co/VcY1cfhPTC
— BDW (@BryanDeanWright) June 10, 2021
We all knew Jeffrey Toobin was too obsessed with …stroking his own ego… to ever leave TV for good. https://t.co/zlw5EhgjQb
— Kelsey Bolar (Harkness) (@kelseybolar) June 10, 2021
Honestly, it’s hard to decide who is more desperate here, CNN or Toobin. https://t.co/hU6tseaN2w
— Emily Zanotti (@emzanotti) June 10, 2021
Toobin’s comeback only makes sense as a society-wide amnesty and fresh start for everybody who’s ever f***ed up at all, which means a lot of folks who got fired or canceled over comparably ticky-tack stuff should be getting their careers restored.
— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) June 10, 2021
Put another way, where the hell is cancel culture when you really need it?
— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) June 10, 2021
Jeffrey Toobin is sorry for the zoom dick, and in related news my unemployed friends in journalism (who have never once masturbated in front of their colleagues!!) are still unemployed https://t.co/lV2KYhRvkL
— Leah Feiger (@LeahFeiger) June 10, 2021
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.