Trump’s Adversarial Relationship With CNN ‘a Mistake,’ Says Jeff Zucker

By Chris Ariens 

It doesn’t worry CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker that President-elect Donald Trump hasn’t done an interview with the network in eight months or that he hasn’t spoken to Trump personally in a month. But he would like to remind Trump that CNN is seen all over the world.

“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,” Zucker tells New York Magazine‘s Gabe Sherman in a wide-ranging interview. “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.”

Zucker says Trump calling CNN “fake news”, as he did in his news conference last week, is “to use one of his favorite words — sad.”

“We think that CNN has a job to do, which is to hold their feet to the fire. They may not like it, but they should respect it.”

Sherman also got in a few questions about the cable news landscape: “I think all of the cable news networks are healthy and vibrant and at a good place in the history of cable news. In terms of audience, there’s a clear No. 1, a clear No. 2, and a clear No. 3. In terms of reporting and breaking news, there’s only one true cable-news network.”

It was reported that MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were at Mar-a-Lago on New Year’s Eve. They said it was because they were trying to get an interview with Trump. Was it appropriate for journalists to attend the president-elect’s private party?
I think in that case, optically, it would have been a lot better to have just made a phone call and ask for the interview.

In December, the Drudge Report reported you were wooing Megyn Kelly. Did you try to hire her?
I had one conversation with Megyn about coming to CNN in prime time. It never got serious, it never got real.

What do you think of her move to NBC?
I wish her nothing but success. I think NBC News is a great fit for her and she’ll be a big star there.