During the 2016 election cycle, the media tried everything to derail the candidacy of Donald Trump. No matter where you looked, mainstream news outlets ran negative and misleading stories about the GOP nominee. To the great dismay of most in the mainstream media, Donald Trump won the election despite their biased and unfair coverage.
After the failed effort, media outlets zeroed in on a new target — fake news. The goal was simple: mainstream media needed to erode the public’s trust in alternative media sources. They sensed their monopoly on the distribution of information was in danger, along with their power to persuade people. Of course, the problem for the mainstream media is that the public’s trust in the them is at an all-time low. To a large portion of the public, the mainstream media is the real purveyor of fake news.
Perhaps the greatest culprit of unfair coverage during the election was CNN. Almost every story about Donald Trump CNN ran was biased or misleading. When it became clear that Trump was going to win the election, some of the pundits were almost in tears…live on air! Of course, they were also one of the first networks to latch onto the narrative bemoaning fake news.
After the coverage he received from the network, President-elect Trump was rightfully skeptical of how they would cover his presidency. During a recent press conference, Trump declined to take questions from a CNN reporter, blasting them as a fake news organization. This didn’t go over well with CNN’s top executive Jeff Zucker, who issued a petty threat to the President-elect.
“I think the era of access journalism as we’ve known it is over,” Zucker replied to Sherman. “It doesn’t worry me that Donald Trump hasn’t done an interview with CNN in eight months. I think our credibility is higher than ever, and our viewership is higher than ever, and our reporting is as strong as ever. One of the things I think this administration hasn’t figured out yet is that there’s only one television network that is seen in Beijing, Moscow, Seoul, Tokyo, Pyongyang, Baghdad, Tehran, and Damascus — and that’s CNN. The perception of Donald Trump in capitals around the world is shaped, in many ways, by CNN. Continuing to have an adversarial relationship with that network is a mistake.”
For those willing to read between the lines, the implication of Zucker’s comment is clear: Donald Trump better give CNN access to his administration, or they will slander him on the world stage.
To those following the evolution of CNN from a legitimate news source to the propaganda wing of the DNC, this threat will come as no surprise. If CNN took a moment to do some self-reflection, it’s possible they could learn from their mistakes and improve. Instead, they’ve opted to double down on their crusade against Donald Trump, issuing threats if they don’t get their way.
In a national discussion about fake news, media giants like CNN deserve just as much scrutiny as alternative media outlets.
[Note: This post was authored by Michael Lee. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee]