Speaking on Thursday at the Financial Times event dubbed FT Future of News conference, CNN president and puppet-master Jeff Zucker ripped the Fox News Channel (FNC) as “state-run TV” and “pure propaganda machine” that “does an incredible disservice to this country” that’s even worse than TASS from the Soviet Union.
Gee, it’s interesting that Zucker’s remarks and venom for FNC are close to what his Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter, senior media writer (and former conservative) Oliver Darcy, the rest of the CNN Media, and the CNNers writ large say on a daily basis.
Simply check out the space spilled on CNN and CNN.com about the Ralph Peters controversy, any number of NewsBusters blogs about Reliable Sources or Stelter newsletters and you’ll see that their FNC obsession borders on unhealthy.
According to a Darcy tweet, Zucker complained: “I will say what has happened there in the past two years ... is somewhat shocking, frankly. It is really state-run TV. It is a pure propaganda machine. And I think does an incredible disservice to hte [sic] country.”
“There are a handful of good journalists there, but I think they are just lost in what is complete propaganda machine. And the idea that they are a news channel is not the case at all,” Zucker added.
“What has happened to that network in the last 18 months ... it has just turned itself over to state-run TV. TASS has nothing on them,” he continued. Hilariously, he apologized after the Q&A to CNN PR chief Allison Gollust, but Zucker can’t undo what he said.
Before going over to what Zucker said about President Trump, it’s worth dwelling on how ironic Zucker’s statements about FNC were as the chest-thumping, self-sanctimonious CNN represents the Resistance, apples and all. CNN claims to be above both FNC and MSNBC with a level of objectivity, but the reality is it's anything but that.
Whether it’s CNN’s porn obsession, Jim Acosta at a White House press briefing, their fake news story about WikiLeaks, or Jake Tapper’s 1984-style town hall on gun control, CNN’s recent track record has been a complete and under embarrassment. And that doesn’t even touch their ratings.
Zucker also trashed the President at the event, arguing that he’s “whipped up anti-media sentient that is dangerous and frankly harmful and potentially incredibly dangerous.”
“I think he doesn’t even understand the danger he’s causing the journalists and the danger he’s doing to media organizations. None of that changes our daily responsibility which is to get the facts right and tell the truth. Our job is to hold those in power accountable. That’s our only job,” he added.
Rewinding back to late summer 2015, there were 16 Republican presidential candidates and CNN couldn’t get enough of Trump. An MRC study found that, from August 24 to September 5 that year, CNN’s primetime shows spent 77.57 percent of its campaign coverage on Trump.
My colleague Rich Noyes offered a more recent study from May 2017 that took a snapshot of CNN programming from May 12, 2017 and it spent 12 hours and 19 minutes on the Trump presidency versus just one hour and eight minutes on all other news.
Even more illuminating was an April 2017 New York Times Magazine profile of Zucker. In it, Zucker was exposed as a puppet-master choreographing big interviews and feeding questions in the ears of Anderson Cooper and Jake Tapper.
Down to the analysts, commentators, and Trump coverage, Zucker has behaved like a ringmaster with political panels and Trump controversies framed like a primetime drama. The title said it all: “CNN Had a Problem. Donald Trump Solved It.”