Oct 24, 2019

CNN president Jeff Zucker: Fox News has "morphed into conspiracy TV"

CNN president Jeff Zucker told media reporter Brian Stelter at the "Citizen by CNN" conference on Thursday that Fox News is "akin to state-run TV" and that he doesn't consider it to be a journalistic organization.

ZUCKER: I think that you often say there is this difference between the news side and the opinion side. ... I think you're wrong.
STELTER: So give me some evidence.
ZUCKER: Watch it. ... I think it's doing a disservice to the country. But that's the path that the Murdochs have decided to go down.

The big picture: CNN and Fox News have butted heads in the Trump era, with both networks consistently attacking each other for alleged bias.

  • Zucker acknowledged that there are talented, news-focused journalists within Fox, but argued that those figures alone "don't make it a news organization."
  • Zucker also commented on the departure of Fox anchor Shep Smith, who was viewed as a moderate and Trump critic within the conservative-leaning network, saying that it's "not a place where somebody like Shep Smith could work." He called Smith "talented" and said he would be "very open to talking to him" when he becomes available.
  • The CNN president also argued the Murdoch family, which runs Fox News, is responsible "for a lot of problems in this country" by helping spread conspiracy theories.

The other side: Fox News foreign correspondent Trey Yingst shot back at Zucker on Twitter, listing a lengthy thread of Fox stories that he says have held those in power accountable over the past year.

"If you don't think Fox News is a 'journalistic organization,' I'd encourage you to take a look at the work my colleagues have done over the past year. Holding those in power accountable, risking their lives to get the story and reporting the facts."

Fox News did not provide a comment.

Go deeper: Conservative news goes to war over impeachment

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World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Countries where novel coronavirus cases are falling may be hit with a "second peak" if they relax restrictions too soon, World Health Organization emergencies chief Mike Ryan warned during a briefing Monday. "We're still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up," he added.

By the numbers: Brazil on Monday recorded for the first time more deaths from the novel coronavirus in a single day than the United States, Reuters notes. Brazil reported 807 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, compared to 620 in the U.S. for the same period.

Palantir CEO reflects on work with ICE

Palantir CEO Alex Karp told "Axios on HBO" that there have "absolutely" been moments he wished the company hadn't taken a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

  • "Did I suffer? ... I've had some of my favorite employees leave," Karp told "Axios on HBO."

Michigan governor won't apologize for coronavirus lockdown

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer defended the strictness of her state's coronavirus lockdown in an interview with "Axios on HBO," saying it was necessary — despite the protests that have drawn national attention — because of how quickly the state's cases were rising.

The big picture: Whitmer, who has been a frequent target of President Trump, insisted that she had to act in the face of a lack of federal leadership — and that thousands more people in her state would have died without the lockdown.