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DALLAS— Former President Donald Trump says CNN has “gotten worse” under new ownership.
“CNN has no credibility and it’s so sad to see,” Trump said when Fox News Digital asked what the network could do to restore credibility in the eyes of conservatives behind the scenes before the former president delivers the CPAC Texas keynote address.
“It was a very important network. It was a very important platform, I think they actually got worse,” Trump continued. “I think it’s a big scam job that they’re going to try to reach out and they’re going to try to get better. I think they’ve gotten worse.”
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Trump’s longtime nemesis Jeff Zucker, who was largely responsible for shifting the network from a factual news operation to liberal opinion programming, was forced to step down earlier in 2022 before the long-planned merger that placed CNN under the control of Warner Bros. Discovery.
Zucker’s successor, recently named CNN CEO Chris Licht, has focused on restoring the network’s reputation as a nonpartisan “news” outlet. Licht also reportedly met with top Republican lawmakers in a bid to mend relations that soured during the Zucker era — but Trump noticed “no signs” of change.
“Not many people are watching. They’ve lost huge credibility and they’ve lost a lot of money in terms of brand equity,” Trump said. “But I haven’t seen any signs that they’ve changed.”
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Licht, who took over the network last spring, has made no significant changes to the network’s programming. He toned down the network’s use of the “Breaking News” on-screen graphic that became commonplace under the previous regime and announced that the morning show “New Day” would be “reinvented” later this year, but most of the Zucker-era talents remain in place.
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“Chris is in the midst of a full review of the organization, which includes a review of talent and leadership – not just two presenters. He is determined to cut the show and has discouraged the presentation of content in an alarmist way,” said a CNN insider told Fox News. Digital earlier in 2022.
The “two anchors” comment referred to an Axios report in June that suggested Brian Stelter and Jim Acosta were seen as the “face of the network’s liberal turn” in the eyes of conservatives.
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Zucker was an NBC executive and pitched “The Apprentice,” but the duo disagreed when Trump entered politics. At the time Trump announced his candidacy for the 2016 presidential election, Zucker was in charge of CNN.
The network was initially mocked for airing empty podiums as Trump was about to speak, as critics believed they were building up the former reality TV star to help ratings. However, once Trump became a viable candidate, the network turned on him and essentially implemented an anti-Trump programming strategy.
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn and Haris Alic contributed to this report.