It was just a birthday party.
And you routinely invite friends to a birthday party, don’t you?
And if you’re a corporate player, you might even invite an enemy or two – or maybe a former co-worker who has become something of a pariah and could use the lift an outing could provide.
And maybe that is what CNN chief Jeff Zucker had in mind when he invited former colleague and current social outcast Matt Lauer to his 54th birthday party last month.
But at ratings-and-respect-challenged CNN, Lauer’s appearance at the party caused employees to flock to the water cooler and share the buzz.
So much buzz that Zucker was asked point blank during his regular Town Hall with CNN’s global staff whether there was any substance to the whispers that Zucker was bringing his friend on board.
“There is absolutely no truth at all in the reports that Matt is coming to CNN,” Zucker said.
Now you might think that such a point blank denial would lay the rumors to rest and leave the water cooler in peace.
You’ve never worked in a television newsroom, have you?