President Trump lashed out at television news networks on Tuesday for having a supposedly “sick and biased” agenda while defending the Sinclair Broadcast Group.
The president’s latest caustic attack against the media came amid revelations that Sinclair, which owns local TV stations across the country, required local news anchors to warn viewers of “the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.” Trump then zeroed in on the cable channel that has become his favorite foil: CNN.
“The Fake News Networks, those that knowingly have a sick and biased AGENDA, are worried about the competition and quality of Sinclair Broadcast,” Trump tweeted. “The ‘Fakers’ at CNN, NBC, ABC & CBS have done so much dishonest reporting that they should only be allowed to get awards for fiction!”
Trump directed his Twitter fire at CNN executive Jeff Zucker, who played a key role at NBC in boosting Trump’s reality show, “The Apprentice.” But Trump, who’s had trouble with spelling, didn’t appear to remember how to spell Zucker’s last name.
“Check out the fact that you can’t get a job at ratings challenged @CNN unless you state that you are totally anti-Trump,” the president continued before misspelling the name of CNN’s chief executive. “Little Jeff Zuker [sic], whose job is in jeopardy, is not having much fun lately. They should clean up and strengthen CNN and get back to honest reporting!”
CNN quickly responded in tweets replying to Trump.
“Once again, false,” the network’s public relations department tweeted. “The personal political beliefs of CNN’s employees are of no interest to us. Their pursuit of the truth is our only concern. Also, Jeff’s last name is spelled Z-U-C-K-E-R. Those are the facts. #FactsFirst.”
“As for ‘challenged,’ CNN just finished its second highest rated first quarter in the past nine years,” it continued. “Those are the facts. #FactsFirst”
CNN’s PR department then tweeted a link to a recent poll that found President Trump is “less trusted than the major cable news outlets as an information source.”
Trump’s long-running feud with CNN predates his presidency. During the 2016 campaign, Trump often complained about the network’s coverage of his candidacy — singling out CNN’s cameras at his rallies and suggesting that Zucker would not have been hired by CNN if it were not for him.
The constant attacks continued during the transition. At his formal first press conference as president-elect, Trump berated CNN’s Jim Acosta as he attempted to ask a question, labeling Acosta and the network “fake news.”
And it has spilled over throughout his first 15 months in office. Last summer, Trump infamously shared a superimposed wrestling video of himself slamming CNN to the ground.
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(Cover Photo Credit: Yahoo News photo Illustration; photos: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)