U.S.

CNN Chief Jeff Zucker Calls Fox News 'State-Run TV,' Blasts Facebook 'Fake News'

CNN President Jeff Zucker took several shots at cable news competitor Fox News on Thursday, labeling its programming as “state-run TV” and a “propaganda machine.”

Speaking at the Financial Times Future of News conference in New York City on Thursday, the CNN chief was among several media honchos excoriating Fox News for doing a “disservice to the country." Zucker told attendees that while we’re living in “the heydey of cable news,” Fox has undergone a “shocking” transition since the death of founder Roger Ailes and the rise of President Donald Trump.

"[Fox News] is really state-run TV. It is a pure propaganda machine and I think does incredible disservice to this country,” Zucker told the media-heavy audience. “The idea that it's a news channel, I think, is really not the case at all."

"There are a handful of good journalists there, but I think they are lost in what is a complete propaganda machine," said Zucker, adding that Fox News "has nothing on" the Russian government-run TASS Russian News Agency based in Moscow.

Zucker conceded that Fox News has performed “incredibly well” at cornering the media market on conservative news, but added that fellow cable news competitor MSNBC and CNN itself have also thrived in the past few years.

"We've had a very good run," Zucker said. "We made CNN very much relevant again, very much a part of the national and international conversation."

Zucker and CNN have both been the favorite punching bag of conservatives and President Donald Trump, despite the fact that the former NBC Entertainment head is often credited with providing Trump a national platform in the wildly successful show The Apprentice, which first aired in 2004. CNN was also criticized for giving nonstop attention to Trump in the early days of his successful 2016 presidential campaign. An August 2016 profile by Variety revealed that Zucker has a framed tweet from Trump in his office at Time Warner headquarters in New York.

Trump tweeted in 2012, “@CNN is looking at Jeff Zucker to lead them out of the forest--Jeff would be a great choice.”

But the relationship between the two has soured significantly as Trump continually berates CNN as “fake news.”

Speaking Thursday, Zucker said: “There is fake news. Fake news is a phenomenon and it does exist … It’s come to light especially on the Facebook," The Wrap's Jon Levine reported.

"[Trump] has created an atmosphere in this country that has resonated around the world in a very unhealthy way that has whipped up anti-media sentiment that is dangerous and frankly harmful and potentially incredibly dangerous," Zucker continued. "He doesn't even understand the danger he's causing to journalists and the danger he's doing to media organizations."

Ben Smith, BuzzFeed’s editor in chief, told the audience that “Fox News speaks to an elderly generation of people.” Co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski, took a shot at President Donald Trump for pandering to Fox News sycophants Thursday morning, saying: “He goes to Fox for love. He comes here for what’s really going on.”

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