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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Big Tech's 2020 news push gathers steam

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all hosted or will host news events this week to discuss what they're doing to promote quality journalism ahead of 2020.

Why it matters: Social media companies have been under attack since the 2016 election for not doing enough to combat misinformation and promote quality content, especially around politics. Now, they want to get ahead of the problem before it's too late.

Go deeperArrowOct 25, 2019

Vindman lawyer calls on Fox News to retract segment alleging "espionage"

Photo: UPI/Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

A lawyer for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman sent a letter to Fox News Wednesday requesting the network retract a segment alleging that Vindman, who was born in Ukraine and is fluent in Russian and Ukrainian, committed "espionage."

Catch up quick: Fox News' Laura Ingraham questioned Vindman's role as the National Security Council’s Ukraine expert in a segment of her show on Oct. 29, stating, “Here we have a U.S. national security official who is advising Ukraine, while working inside the White House, apparently against the president’s interest, and usually, they spoke in English. Isn’t that kind of an interesting angle on this story?”

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 20, 2019

Former Fox News employees want release from their NDAs

Gretchen Carlson. Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

At least six former Fox News employees are calling on their old network to release them from nondisclosure agreements in order to allow them to speak out about potential sexual misconduct during their time at the company, Vanity Fair reports.

Driving the news: NBC News announced Friday it will release former employees from NDAs as it tries to control the damage stemming from allegations in former NBC reporter Ronan Farrow's new book, "Catch and Kill." The former staffers at Fox News — including former host Gretchen Carlson, the first woman to publicly file a lawsuit against former CEO Roger Ailes — are asking the network to follow suit.

Go deeperArrowOct 28, 2019