Jeff Zucker, president of CNN, promised the Washington Post that his news media outlet will not air President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign rallies live and unedited in the leadup to 2020’s presidential election.
In an interview with the Washington Post, which provided no video, audio, or full transcription, Zucker described CNN as “not putting its finger on the scale for any single candidate” and “focus[ed] on the issues.”
The 2020’s election cycle offers a chance for a “do-over” relative to 2016 for CNN and the broader news media landscape, according to the Washington Post:
CNN plays host for two nights with 20 candidates in Detroit on Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s the network’s biggest moment yet in the 2020 election cycle — an election cycle that could serve as a sort of do-over for Zucker, for CNN and for the media in general.
Zucker came under intense criticism for CNN’s mode of coverage in the 2016 election. He has acknowledged some mistakes while defending the network overall, and vows that this time will be different.
The network won’t air any candidate rallies live and unedited, as it did repeatedly for candidate Trump. He has put more reporters in the field, to stay closer to the voters in the middle of the country. And CNN has held over 20 town hall events with presidential candidates for 2020 — many of them low-rated — partly as a way to focus on the issues, Zucker said, and partly to make sure that the network is not putting its finger on the scale for any single candidate.
People attack CNN “because it matters,” said Zucker.
Trump seeks CNN’s approval and respect, alleged Zucker, saying, “The things [Donald Trump] rails against the most — CNN, Saturday Night Live and the New York Times — that’s what he grew up with in New York. That’s what he knows. And that’s whose respect he covets.”
Zucker derided Fox News as a “destructive” force across America, relayed the Washington Post:
“When you look at the last 20 years of American society culture and politics, I think they’ve been one of the most destructive voices in that entire process,” Zucker said of Fox. “And I think that they’ve had a terrible influence on the discourse in this country.”
Zucker regularly denies that CNN operates with political or partisan biases. CNN markets itself as a politically objective and non-partisan news media outlet with the slogan, “Facts First.” It previously branded itself as “The Most Trusted Name In News.”
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