Lauer’s response, from Tuesday: “huh? Always tried to be nice Mark. Sorry you didn’t think so. Hope you’re doing well.” On Thursday, the social media-loving Zinni was firing off a torrent of comments and replies regarding his Lauer tweet-versation, telling people to “be careful what you say on twitter, ha!” and stating: “For the record, i[Sic] wasn’t ‘disgruntled’ … I had a great time in ’97!”
Lauer, meanwhile, is mired in all sorts of drama over his future on the NBC morning show, which has slipped in the ratings and fallen to No. 2 behind Good Morning America since Ann Curry was pushed out of the show last summer. Although Lauer has said the circumstances of Curry’s exit were mishandled, the public perception is that he was key in the decision to let her go.
As his once stellar reputation takes more hits, many media observers wonder how long Lauer, whose contract runs through 2014, will remain in the co-anchor’s chair alongside Curry replacement Savannah Guthrie. On Wednesday, NBC executives and sources close to Anderson Cooper denied reports that the CNN anchor had been approached about Lauer’s job.
Later Thursday, Zinni defended his Twitter TMI in a post on FOX8.com, writing: “Darren Sweeney, an executive producer at FOX 8, asked about my experience with Matt Lauer. If you know me, you probably know that I don’t take myself too seriously. So, my answer was more of a joke about being young and naive during my time at Today, but I added that he wasn’t nice to me. I didn’t slam the guy, I just made an honest comment.”
Added Zinni: “Twitter is a great resource for everyone because it’s instant and, thankfully, shorter than a phone call. Bottom line, I was shocked Matt Lauer even bothered with me and, really, he remembers me? I’m flattered.”