At the same time that Donald Trump was delivering a scathing attack on the news media during a news conference today, Jeff Zucker, president of CNN worldwide, was delivering his own comments about CNN’s ongoing skirmishes with Trump.
“Zucker said he was worried enough about Trump’s labeling of CNN as ‘fake news’ through the campaign and after that he ordered a study last month to see if it had damaged the network’s reputation with viewers,” the AP reports. “He said it hadn’t, although CNN did not immediately release details of the survey.”
Zucker is quoted in the report saying: “The CNN brand has been as strong as it has ever been.” CNN executives, meanwhile, said the cable net had its most profitable year in 2016 and was on track to do even better this year.
“The administration has reportedly banned its officials from appearing on CNN, although there have been sporadic exceptions,” the story reports. “The dispute has been most apparent on Sundays, where on two weekends Vice President Mike Pence and presidential aide Stephen Miller were guests on other network political affairs shows but not on Jake Tapper’s CNN show, ‘State of the Union.'”
Zucker downplayed any impact the ban may be having, saying: “We don’t feel it’s hurt us in any way.”
Zucker said CNN’s ratings are up 51% year-to-year, which is unusual because ratings for news networks typically fall after a presidential election.
The AP notes that today’s Trump news conference included some barbs aimed at CNN. Trump said CNN’s 10 p.m. show, which is hosted by Don Lemon, “is almost exclusive anti-Trump.”
“I would be your biggest fan in the world if you treated me right,” Trump added. “I sort of understand there’s a certain bias, maybe by Jeff or somebody, you know, whatever reason. And I understand that. But you’ve got to be at least a little bit fair and that’s why the public sees it. They see it. They see it’s not fair. You take a look at some of your shows and you see the bias and the hatred.”