CNN President Jeff Zucker panned Fox News’ cozy alliance with the White House when he spoke Saturday at the South by Southwest Conference, convinced that President Donald Trump tried to thwart the AT&T-Time Warner merger for political reasons.
In an on-stage interview with Vanity Fair media correspondent Joe Pompeo, Zucker called the outlet’s relationship with the administration “completely symbiotic,” according to Politico’s Michael Calderone, who tweeted a thread of the remarks:
“Is Fox state-run TV or is the White House state-run government by Fox TV? The relationship between the two is completely symbiotic."— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) March 9, 2019
Furthermore, Zucker felt politics were at play when it came to Trump’s alleged attempt to quash the merger of the two corporations, a story which emerged in a New Yorker exposé last week claiming National Economic Council director Gary Cohn sought to stop the deal at Trump’s behest. The point was to punish CNN, a major target of the president’s scorn when it comes to the media and its coverage of his administration.
Zucker says he believes there was political motivation, reaching up to Trump, in trying to block the AT&T- Time Warner deal.— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) March 9, 2019
Shortly after the report was published, the Democratic National Committee announced its plans to bar Fox News from hosting or televising its party’s primary debates ahead of the 2020 presidential election. DNC President Tom Perez cited concerns over the outlet’s ability to hold a neutral debate in light of the article’s findings.
That decision has been met with controversy, as there are mixed responses from both sides of the aisle as to whether a block is the right move. But The Hollywood Reporter’s Jeremy Barr noted that Zucker’s reaction was one of justification, contending that the DNC has a right to make its own choices.
Jeff Zucker on the DNC's decision to bar Fox News from debates: "I think the consternation about this is a little misplaced. They don't have to give one to CNN, they don't have to give one to MSNBC. There's no obligation to give one to Fox."— Jeremy Barr (@jeremymbarr) March 9, 2019
Bill Sammon, Fox News senior vice president, has asked the DNC to rethink its decision, hoping for a change of heart.
Retaliating last Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to threaten a block of other networks and Democrats during general election debates.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.