Politico reports that “The White House has refused to send its spokespeople or surrogates onto CNN shows, effectively icing out the network from on-air administration voices.” Currently CNN ranks #2 behind Fox News.
A White House official told Politico “We’re sending surrogates to places where we think it makes sense to promote our agenda.”
And CNN won’t play ball. We recently saw Anderson Cooper fluster Kellyanne Conway with basic math.
Enjoyable as episodes like that may be, this has been seen as more than a defensive measure by Trump’s White House. Not only is Trump selling the idea that CNN is “fake news” but, perhaps seeing how effective his attacks on Boeing and Lockheed were, he sees a chance to really hurt CNN, to punish them for asking questions he doesn’t want asked:
A CNN reporter, speaking on background, was more blunt: The White House is trying to punish the network and force down its ratings.
“They’re trying to cull CNN from the herd,” the reporter said.
Jake Tapper, host of “State of the Union” said the White House isn’t accepting any of his invitations, explaining on air Sunday,
“We invited the Trump White House to offer us a guest to provide clarity and an explanation of what the president just did, especially given so much confusion, even within its own government by those who are supposed to carry out this order. The Trump White House declined our invitation.”
Of course, Tapper isn’t doing himself any favors with the Trumptator when he tweets incindiary things like this:
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 30, 2017
Of course, Kellyanne Conway has already said she wants a bunch of people fired and Sean Spicer now says of his failure to appear on CNN recently, “I’m not going to sit around and engage with people who have no desire to actually get something right.”
Trumpspeak: with people who refuse to let me and Trump lie our pants off with impunity. What the White House is selling is “alternative facts” – a completely fantasy-driven reality completely at odds with everything we know to be true.
It has been suggested that Trump’s war with CNN is personal. Apparently, Trump is under the impression he got Zucker the job at CNN and thinks Zucker, therefore, owes him. Zucker says that’s not true and CNN says that’s not true but we all know by now what is at stake is what is true and what Donald Trump wants to be true.
New York Magazine cites a high-level source at CNN as saying, “This is entirely personal. Trump thinks just because he’s known Jeff that CNN should be covering him like Fox News does.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer says, “To think he’s sitting around worried about Jeff Zucker is a little ridiculous.”
Not ridiculous at all, given how much time Trump spends sitting around thinking about Alec Baldwin. Knowing our POTUS as we do, Spicer’s denials ring just a little hollow. And this is the same Spicer who unwittingly retweeted a satirical Onion piece on him which says Spicer’s “role in the Trump administration will be to provide the American public with robust and clearly articulated misinformation.”
The last laugh may be on Trump. CNN chief Jeff Zucker, who has known Trump a long time (and while with NBC brought The Apprentice to TV) told New York Magazine,
“One of the things I think this administration hasn’t figured out yet is that there’s only one television network that is seen in Beijing, Moscow, Seoul, Tokyo, Pyongyang, Baghdad, Tehran, and Damascus — and that’s CNN.”
On the other hand, this might be okay with Trump, just all a part of his “America First” program. He might even realize foreigners aren’t dumb enough to believe the kind of nonsense Fox News peddles anyway (he certainly thinks the American public is that stupid).
There is an upside for America: We might get to see the Democratic point of view stated on network news shows, typically dominated by right wing talking points, a bit more than we have in the past. And CNN would not only have a chance to redeem itself for the sin of hosting Corey Lewandowski but might actually see its ratings go up.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.