CNN President Jeff Zucker claimed in a podcast with David Axelrod that his network is “pro-truth” and not “anti-Trump.”
In an episode of “The Axe Files” released Monday, Zucker speculated about potentially running for office and discussed why he thinks his network has become a target of President Donald Trump. (RELATED: CNN President Jeff Zucker Is ‘Interested’ In Running For Office)
Zucker suggested that at least some of Trump’s attacks on CNN are personal, noting that he was responsible for putting “The Apprentice” on the air when he was running NBC and was a personal friend of Trump’s.
HOLLYWOOD.- JANUARY 14: (L to R) Donald Trump and Jeff Zucker, president, NBC Entertainment, News and Cable attend the 2004 NBC Winter Press Tour All-Star Party at the Highlands on January 14, 2004 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images).
“The fact is, we’ve had this long, you know, 20-plus year relationship, that for a long time was quite strong,” Zucker said. “And Donald Trump did not understand, in the end, that just because we were friends didn’t mean he wasn’t going to be subjected to the proper scrutiny. He thought CNN should give him a pass because we were friends. He thought CNN should be like Fox News and just, you know, give him glowing coverage all the time.”
In addition, Zucker challenged critics who believe CNN has become an anti-Trump network, asserting that CNN’s job is to be “pro-truth,” even if that means criticizing the president.
“I think that our job at CNN is to tell the truth,” Zucker said. “The problem is, in this day and age, I do understand that sometimes when you’re pro-truth, it comes off as anti-Trump.”
“In no way should we set out, ever, to be anti-Trump. We should always set out to be pro-truth,” he continued. “And all I encourage our shows and our anchors to be, is to hold those in power accountable and tell the truth. If that comes off as anti-Trump, then that’s a byproduct of being pro-truth.”
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 16: President of CNN Worldwide Jeff Zucker at CNN Films – Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent at TFF Panel & Party on April 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for Turner)
Many have criticized CNN for covering Trump extensively during the 2016 presidential election, although Zucker denied any responsibility for helping Trump get elected. In November, Zucker admitted in a Vanity Fair interview that CNN’s ratings drop
when they stop covering Trump.
“We’ve seen that, anytime you break away from the Trump story and cover other events in this era, the audience goes away,” he said. “So we know that, right now, Donald Trump dominates.”
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