Mary Katherine Ham: I Was 'Quiet Suspended' by Zucker's CNN for Toobin Tweeting

October 7th, 2022 10:23 AM

Conservative CNN commentator Mary Katherine Ham announced on her Substack that CNN "quiet suspended" her for seven months for speaking out on Twitter against CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin's shocking masturbation in front of women on a Zoom call. 

It came to my attention in July that I had been punished under old CNN leadership— kept off air since January— for tweeting about Jeffrey Toobin in a Twitter dust-up with Andrew Kaczynski (another CNN employee) regarding our network's coverage of the 2017 Congressional baseball shooting.

You can read about that Twitter fight, here, which — although it got heated and brought in ugly trolling from others — remained basically above board between Kaczynski and me and resulted in no bad blood, as far as I knew, and as I assessed in an after-action debrief over private messages. I suppose some might reasonably conclude that critiquing CNN's coverage in a factual and calm tweet, or arguing with Kaczynski, could have spurred some disciplinary action, as it violates the rule against “shooting inside the tent” among colleagues. But it turns out that didn’t do me in. Rather, I’m told, “when it got to the comments about Jeffrey Toobin…everyone wanted a bit of a breather.”

Well, everyone but me, who had no idea there was a breather in effect. I was never informed of my punishment until it was rescinded recently by new management. No one called me or my representation about it. There was no announcement of a suspension, or notification of in-house disciplinary action, which I would have preferred, even welcomed by comparison to serving a secret sentence.

In case you're wondering, as I did, how my punishment for tweeting about Toobin compares to Toobin's suspension for his offense, I can tell you. He was off air for eight months; I was off for seven. One month was the difference between punishment for jacking off at work versus commenting on the inadvisability of jacking off at work...

I was told it was Jeff Zucker, now gone, who put this order in place and a deputy, also gone, who kept it there.

Ham compared CNN to her treatment at Fox News: 

I was treated unfairly by the people who punished me. Simply shutting up about it does not sit right with me. In the course of any career, perhaps particularly a public-facing media career — even more a political media career — you're gonna run into some jerks who treat you badly. Sometimes it's condescension, sometimes paternalism, or harassment. The latter was the story at Fox, where I had a 10-year run during which I went completely un-harassed, a fact I am at pains to disclose every time I speak publicly about my career. Roger Ailes was not interested in me, but even in not harassing me, his actions put me in an uncomfortable position. Such is the lose-lose nature of that kind of thing. I later learned what friends and colleagues endured behind closed doors.

Ham concluded: "I have not been asked to leave CNN. In fact, I've been invited back by the new guard to do the job I was prevented from doing by the old guard. Clean slate, as if nothing happened. But something did happen."

Megyn Kelly (who Ham quoted in this piece) had a thought: