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Two top generals in the cable news wars are going at it.
Following Fox News chief Roger Ailes’ comments in a Hollywood Reporter interview in which he said CNN “is out of the news business,” CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker fired back Friday at the TCA: “[Ailes] doesn’t do an interview in a long time and then does it the week that the book comes out? He’s trying to deflect attention,” said Zucker.
While THR ran the Ailes interview this week, it was actually conducted last month. The book Zucker refers to, Gabriel Sherman’s “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” an unauthorized biography of Ailes, will be released Tuesday. The original publication date was for later this month, but when excerpts leaked earlier this week, Random House moved up the publication date.
In his comments Friday, Zucker said the book “confirms what we’ve known all along, which is the Republican Party is being run out of News Corp. headquarters, masquerading as a cable channel.” RNC chairman Reince Priebus then got into the mix, tweeting, “Hey Jeff Zucker, we’re the Republican Party and we speak for ourselves, pal.”
A Fox News spokesperson says Zucker is the one deflecting because of the network’s ratings woes. In 2013, CNN experienced a 20-year ratings low. CNN has produced several segments this week on Sherman’s book. He’ll be a guest on “Reliable Sources” tomorrow morning.
In response to Ailes’ original shot across the bow, Zucker says, “Clearly there’s probably no other network in American television that is covering news in such a substantial and serious way than CNN.”