- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

CNN’s president says the incoming U.S. commander in chief is trying to “delegitimize journalism.”

The rift between President-elect Donald Trump and CNN was highlighted once again on Wednesday with the publication of a New York Magazine interview with Jeff Zucker. The piece prompted attacks against Mr. Trump after the writer revisited reporting on unverified intelligence documents claiming Russia had compromising information on the billionaire.

“It’s just unfortunate that the most powerful person in the world is trying to delegitimize journalism and an organization that plays such a vital role in our democracy,” Mr. Zucker said of Mr. Trump’s claim that CNN airs “fake news.” “I think he’s entitled to his opinion, but it’s — to use one of his favorite words — sad.”

The CNN head defended Jake Tapper’s reporting on a 35-page dossier that Mr. Trump called “phony stuff,” but refused to criticize Buzzfeed’s decision to publish the unverified document.

“We didn’t pass judgment on the allegations,” Mr. Zucker told New York Magazine. “We reported we had not been able to corroborate them. But the news was that the two most powerful people in the world had been briefed on the existence of these allegations. I’m not going to pass judgment on [Buzzfeed’s] decision. We did not think it was appropriate for us given that we had not been able to corroborate the allegations.”

Mr. Zucker said CNN would continue to hold the Trump administration’s “feet to the fire,” and that his network’s credibility is “higher than ever.”

“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,” Mr. Zucker said. “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.”

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