Jeff Zucker defends network after being labeled ‘fake news’ by president-elect
JANUARY 18, 2017
CNN President Jeff Zucker is defending his network following remarks from the incoming leader of the free world, who last week labeled the cable news outlet “terrible” and “fake news.”
Zucker told New York Magazine Tuesday CNN’s credibility has never been higher, and asserted President-elect Donald Trump’s treatment of the network has little to no impact on its global influence.
“I think the era of access journalism as we’ve known it is over. It doesn’t worry me that Donald Trump hasn’t done an interview with CNN in eight months. I think our credibility is higher than ever, and our viewership is higher than ever, and our reporting is as strong as ever. One of the things I think this administration hasn’t figured out yet is that there’s only one television network that is seen in Beijing, Moscow, Seoul, Tokyo, Pyongyang, Baghdad, Tehran, and Damascus — and that’s CNN.”
Zucker went on to issue an eerie warning to Trump reminding him the network controls how other countries perceive him.
“The perception of Donald Trump in capitals around the world is shaped, in many ways, by CNN. Continuing to have an adversarial relationship with that network is a mistake.”
Zucker also claimed CNN plays “a vital role in our democracy,” and said Trump was attempting to delegitimize the organization.
“It’s just unfortunate that the most powerful person in the world is trying to delegitimize journalism and an organization that plays such a vital role in our democracy. I think he’s entitled to his opinion, but it’s — to use one of his favorite words — sad.”
The network president also said he stood by CNN’s reporting of unsubstantiated allegations last week claiming that Russia had compromising intel on President-elect Donald Trump.
“We didn’t pass judgment on the allegations. We reported we had not been able to corroborate them. But the news was that the two most powerful people in the world had been briefed on the existence of these allegations,” Zucker said.
At a fiery press conference last Wednesday, the president elect took a CNN reporter to task when he persisted in attempting to ask a question.
“Your organization is terrible,” Trump told CNN’s Jim Acosta, who repeatedly asked, “Can you give us a question?”
“Don’t be rude,” Trump responded. “No, I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news.”
Trump had previously made his feelings toward the network clear during a meeting at Trump Tower in November following his successful presidential bid.
At a meeting with several high-profile media executives and journalists described as a “f**ing firing squad,” Trump unleashed his true feelings on the mainstream media.
According to The New York Post, “Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong.’ He addressed everyone in the room calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars. He called out Jeff Zucker by name and said everyone at CNN was a liar, and CNN was [a] network of liars.”
The president-elect had also previously labeled the network “fake news” via Twitter after it reported the businessman he would maintain a role on the TV show The Apprentice despite being president.