GRAND RAPIDS, MI - NOVEMBER 08: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during his final campaign rally on Election Day in the Devos Place November 8, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Trump's marathon last day of campaigning stretched past midnight and into Election Day. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) (Getty/Chip Somodevilla)

Trump wants CNN to play nice — and could use impending merger for leverage

CNN's parent company Time Warner wants a merger with AT&T. Donald Trump wants CNN to fall in line


Jeremy Binckes
July 6, 2017 12:54PM (UTC)

Donald Trump has a CNN problem. The network reports stories Trump doesn't like. And so, in his free time, the president and his staff like to find random GIFs on the internet and share them with the world as official presidential statements.

On Thursday, while meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda, Trump broke with the presidential tradition of promoting America's free press and instead blasted CNN for "covering us in a very dishonest way." He then asked for backup from Duda, whose party "has drawn criticism from the European Union for laws exerting more government control over state-owned media and restricting who can cover the Polish parliament," according to USA Today.

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According to Trump, CNN has been the epitome of what he calls "fake news" since the presidential campaign season, and he appears to believe the network seeks to undermine him and his administration at every turn.

But Trump is also in charge of the federal government, and as such, has the power to do more to CNN in return than simply stand at a podium and call the network "dishonest."

In a profile of CNN chief Jeff Zucker, the New York Times reported on this nugget of information, noting that the White House could, if it chooses, use the network's parent company's potential merger to coordinate favorable coverage.

White House advisers have discussed a potential point of leverage over their adversary, a senior administration official said: a pending merger between CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, and AT&T. Mr. Trump’s Justice Department will decide whether to approve the merger, and while analysts say there is little to stop the deal from moving forward, the president’s animus toward CNN remains a wild card.


Jeremy Binckes

Jeremy Binckes is the senior news editor at Salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

At&t Cnn Corporate Mergers Donald Trump Justice Department Media Merger Time Warner

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