AUSTIN, Texas–After the Democratic National Committee said it would not be awarding a Democratic primary debate to Fox News during the course of its 2020 repetition, the network put out a statement that read in part,” We hope the D.N.C. will reconsider its decision to bar Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, all of whom exemplify the ultimate journalistic soundnes and professionalism, from moderating a Democratic presidential debate .”
CNN president Jeff Zucker isn’t buying it.
During a Q& A with Vanity Fair media reporter Joe Pompeo at the South by Southwest festival on Saturday, Zucker said it’s not like networks have a “right” to host debates.
” I believe the fear about this is a little misplaced ,” he said.” They don’t have to give one to CNN, they don’t have to give one to NBC. They have no obligation to give one to Fox .” Calling Fox a “propaganda” shop, Zucker said,” I guess the question should be, is Fox state-run TV or is the White House state-run government by Fox TV ?”
As for Fox News’ response singling out its more legitimate news anchors, Zucker said,” They chose to work at Fox and they don’t get to hide behind the facts of the case that they’re excellent correspondents or anchors. The happening is they work at a home that has done immense damage to this country .”
Earlier in the talk, Zucker also said he has no doubt that the Trump administration interfered in the Justice Department’s actions over the uniting between AT& T and Time Warner–CNN’s parent company–though said it’s now a “moot point” because the consolidation went through.
” Do I think there was political reason in their attempt to block the deal? I do. And, do I believe it came from the highest specific areas of government? I do ,” he said. Without mentioning Trump by figure, he lent,” There was absolutely no basis for the governmental forces doing what they were doing, so clearly there was a policy agenda at work and I don’t think it takes has become a genius to figure out where that comes from .”
Then there was the commotion over CNN’s recent announcement that it had hired former GOP operative and Jeff Sessions spokesperson Sarah Isgur as its brand-new political editor, sparking concerns that she would be helping to drive the network’s 2020 election coverage. Now, one day after Isgur revealed that she will be joining as a” political analyst” instead, the CNN head attempted to explain.
” Over the last couple of weeks, some things changed in her working life ,” Zucker said , noting further that Isgur got married “unexpectedly.” With that,” she determined to would shape more feel at this time in their own lives to just go forward with the on-air commentator character .”
Noting the” long cable” of people who have moved between politics and journalism, he said,” I didn’t really witness any issue with having someone who was smart and understood the path that Washington operates as one of the purposes of our company .” He stressed that she was never going to be overseeing the network’s 2020 expedition coverage, calling that an “assumption” that other reporters moved” based on their own biases .”
Of course, long before the Isgur controversy, CNN received its fair share of disapproval and even blame for supposedly facilitating boost Trump. Zucker was quick to protect his system from indicts of sensationalism or bias.
” If “youve been” watch CNN, there is no such thing as a lot of screamy, political, partisan combats ,” Zucker said, a bit unconvincingly.” Do they happen on occasion? Yes, perfectly. Is that a predominant part of CNN? No, I think that’s an unjust criticism .”
Zucker did think it was a” fair review” to say that CNN has at times allowed too many republican commentators to spread false information on its breath.
” I do think that it’s important to hear from both sides, or all areas frankly, because if you don’t hear all areas then you wake up the morning after such elections and you’re sickened that Donald Trump is president of the United States .” But at the same hour, he acknowledged “theres been” occasions when they have had to let Trump-defending donors go–like, for instance, Jeffrey Lord–because they bridged a line.
” I do not said he believed that CNN is also why Donald Trump got elected ,” Zucker held.” I wish we had this is something that power–we don’t .”
But while Trump has not granted an interrogation to CNN since becoming chairwoman, he did get abundance of airtime on the network during his expedition.” I’m not going to apologize for interviewing Donald Trump when his contestants didn’t have the heroism and foresight to actually take advantage of those opportunities ,” Zucker said.” That’s on them. That’s not on CNN .”
At the same time, he acknowledged it was a “mistake” to air Trump’s rallies unedited.” So we won’t do that again ,” he promised.