If you’re looking for a mature analysis of Jeffrey Toobin’s road to television redemption, you probably want to look elsewhere. CNN, the news organization that for months allowed Chris Cuomo to interview his brother and then decided it was cool if he advised said brother on his numerous sexual assault allegations, yesterday brought back Jeffrey “Zoom Dick” Toobin, last seen pulling his pud on a Zoom call with his New Yorker coworkers. Swiftly fired by Conde Nast, Toobin’s kept a low profile and half mast since last November, but returned to CNN yesterday for a weird and uncomfortable interview with Alisyn Camerota, who surely lost a bet. Let’s take a look.
My favorite part is how between the table and chyron they’re very careful to only show Toobin from the waist up. Toobin called his teleconference chicken choking “deeply moronic and indefensible” but believes being fired by The New Yorker was “excessive punishment.” Because if complaints about one’s punishment prove anything, it’s how truly repentant one is about their behavior. Toobin’s flagrant self-flagellation isn’t the first time his one-eyed trouser snake got him in hot water; in March 2009 Casey Greenfield, daughter of CBS News analyst Jeff Greenfield, gave birth to Toobin’s son. Toobin was and remains married to Amy Bennett McIntosh, with whom he has 2 adult children. Toobin resisted having his name on the son’s birth certificate and refused to pay child support until being taken to court.
CNN offered no statement on Toobin’s return. Despite thousands of words expended on the sexual misdeeds of their competitors and other media personalities, CNN appears to believe a brief absence while he “dealt with a personal issue” (wink wink, nudge nudge) is sufficient punishment.
Far be it from me to judge a man for jerkin’ the gherkin. We’ve all needed to shuck some corn a time or two. How and where he plays the skin flute is none of my business. But that comes with a pretty big caveat; namely, keep your self-satisfaction to yourself, or at least among consenting adults. No one at The New Yorker wanted to watch Jeffrey toot his own horn. Toobin stated that an internal investigation by The New Yorker found no other misconduct claims against him in the 27 years he spent with the magazine. But once you’ve slapped the snake during a video conference, it’s no longer 27 years of good behavior; it’s 27 years of not getting found out. It takes toxic levels of gullibility to believe Toobin got busted the very first time he whipped it out. No 60-year-old man sitting down at his laptop for a work call goes “You know what? Today’s the day. I’m going to tug the tiger’s tail while having a normal conversation with my coworkers.” I’ve no doubt Toobin regrets his behavior, or more likely regrets getting caught. He probably regrets whatever behavioral quirk led to his need for public self-gratification. But being fired from The New Yorker for it is hardly excessive punishment, and a man who thinks it is probably hasn’t learned his lesson.
Image sources (in order of posting): Getty Images, Paul Marotta