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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