President Donald Trump on Monday suggested that a conservative-led AT&T investor police news coverage at CNN, renewing his attacks on the network while advocating for the violation of press freedom.
That morning, Elliott Management, a New York-based hedge fund run by GOP megadonor Paul Singer, announced it had nabbed a $3.2 billion stake in the wireless carrier which now owns Time Warner, CNN’s parent company.
Singer, known as an “activist” investor, has made a name for himself buying up shares of companies in which he senses weaknesses. His fund then pushes the companies to change in order to drive up their stock prices.
Trump, realizing Elliott’s influence, sent an indirect message to the fund on Twitter, calling the investment “great news” and speculating that “perhaps [AT&T] will now put a stop to all of the Fake News emanating from its non-credible ‘anchors.’”
Furthering his criticism, the president claimed that CNN’s ratings are costing it “a fortune” and that its “International Division spews bad information & Fake News all over the globe.” He again claimed that foreign leaders question why the media doesn’t cover him more favorably.
“It is a fraudulent shame, & all comes from the top,” he declared.
AT&T did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on the president’s tweets.
Trump long opposed AT&T’s $85 billion buyout of Time Warner, making his stance clear on the 2016 campaign trail and raising questions over whether his position was motivated by his disdain for CNN.
In 2017, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to block the acquisition, which Time Warner felt was essential for it to stay afloat in a media ecosystem dominated by tech behemoths like Facebook and Google. However, a federal judge approved the merger last year.
As part of its announcement Monday, Elliott said its investment in AT&T is “among its largest ever.” In a letter to the board of the telecom giant, the fund predicted that by the end of 2021, it could raise AT&T’s share values by $60 each ― a 65% increase.