CNN president Jeff Zucker frequently dictates anti-Trump questions to his anchors when they’re live, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
During host Jake Tapper’s 25-minute brawl with Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway Feb. 7, Zucker called the control room to tell them to ignore commercial breaks. “He was telling my executive producer, ‘Keep going!'” Tapper told media reporter Marisa Guthrie.
After President Donald Trump’s Feb. 16 East Room press conference, Zucker “picks up his phone and barks into the receiver: ‘What about the 57 percent of people who didn’t vote for him? Doesn’t he have to be their president, too?'”
“He hangs up,” according to Guthrie, and “seconds later, Tapper poses a version of the question to Lord.”
Zucker called to demand another question later in that same segment: “Zucker picks up the phone again: ‘Then why does he have to ask April Ryan to get a meeting?'”
Trump and Zucker have known each other for well over a decade; Zucker greenlighted “The Apprentice” in 2004. He has called the president’s attacks on CNN “sad,” and told New York Magazine Oct. 2 that, “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.”
The president frequently fights with reporters like CNN’s Jim Acosta — who he once shouted down as “fake news” during a press conference.
The direct line is available to pretty much every network president who wants to be more hands-on with anchors. Fox News’s then-chariman Roger Ailes allegedly called then-host Megyn Kelly on multiple occasions to question how hard she was being on Trump during the election.
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