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The head of CNN has launched an attack on Donald Trump and other politicians for creating an environment in which journalists are more at threat then most people realise.
“[It is] unconscionable and dangerous and they should know better,” said Jeff Zucker.
During the election campaign, Mr Zucker was frequently criticised for the huge amount of free air time he came to Mr Trump. The New York tycoon, who led the Republican field after he announced his candidacy, received markedly more coverage than other candidates, a move that underscored his appeal both to viewers and advertisers.
Yet during the campaign, CNN was also among those media outlets that Mr Trump frequently denounced for producing what he called “fake news”. Mr Trump described the media as “terrible people” and scum.
In a breakfast meeting with reporters, Mr Zucker accused Mr Trump and others of helping create a toxic and dangerous environment for the media.
“We’ve been dealing with this in a very real and heightened way over the last 18 months,’ he said.
He spoke after Montana congressman Greg Gianforte, recently pleaded guilty to body-slamming a newspaper reporter who had asked him a question the night before his special election victory.
“This is what happens when you try to delegitimise an institution that is trying to do its job,” Mr Zucker said, according to the Associated Press.
“It is shameful on the part of the administration and other politicians to cause a frenzy against something that is guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States.
“It does a disservice to this country and its position in the world and allows a heightened sense of rhetoric against journalists and media organisations.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.