CNN President Jeff Zucker panned Fox News’ cozy alliance with the White House when he spoke Saturday at the South by Southwest Conference, convinced that President Donald Trump tried to thwart the AT&T-Time Warner merger for political reasons.
In an on-stage interview with Vanity Fair media correspondent Joe Pompeo, Zucker called the outlet’s relationship with the administration “completely symbiotic,” according to Politico’s Michael Calderone, who tweeted a thread of the remarks:
Furthermore, Zucker felt politics were at play when it came to Trump’s alleged attempt to quash the merger of the two corporations, a story which emerged in a New Yorker exposé last week claiming National Economic Council director Gary Cohn sought to stop the deal at Trump’s behest. The point was to punish CNN, a major target of the president’s scorn when it comes to the media and its coverage of his administration.
Shortly after the report was published, the Democratic National Committee announced its plans to bar Fox News from hosting or televising its party’s primary debates ahead of the 2020 presidential election. DNC President Tom Perez cited concerns over the outlet’s ability to hold a neutral debate in light of the article’s findings.
That decision has been met with controversy, as there are mixed responses from both sides of the aisle as to whether a block is the right move. But The Hollywood Reporter’s Jeremy Barr noted that Zucker’s reaction was one of justification, contending that the DNC has a right to make its own choices.
Bill Sammon, Fox News senior vice president, has asked the DNC to rethink its decision, hoping for a change of heart.
Retaliating last Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to threaten a block of other networks and Democrats during general election debates.