President Donald Trump used much of his Thursday press conference to slam CNN and anchor Don Lemon, while also offering his enthusiastic praise for Fox News’ morning show, Fox & Friends.
“I just see many, many untruthful things. I’ll tell you what else I see. I see tone. The tone is such hatred,” Trump said in response to CNN reporter Jim Acosta about the news network. “I’m really not a bad person by the way. I do get good ratings, you have to admit that. But the tone is such hatred. I have to say, Fox & Friends in the morning, they’re very honorable people. Not because they’re good — because they hit me also when I do something wrong — but they have the most honest morning show. That’s all I can say. It’s the most honest.
Of Lemon’s CNN Tonight, Trump added, “You look at your show that goes on at 10 o’clock in the evening. You just take a look at that show. That is a constant hit. The panel is almost always exclusive anti-Trump. The good news is he doesn’t have good ratings. But the panel is almost exclusive anti-Trump, and the hatred and venom coming from his mouth. The hatred coming from other people on your network.” Trump did not mention Lemon by name.
“I will say this. I watch it, I see it, I’m amazed by it, and I just think you’d be a lot better off,” Trump said of CNN. “I honestly do. The public gets it, you know. When I go to rallies, they turned around they start screaming at CNN, they want to throw their placards at CNN. I think you’d do much better by being different. Take a look at some of your shows in the morning or the evening. If a guest comes out and says something positive about me, it’s brutal.”
The comments directly contradicted a previous statement made by the president, who seem to claim earlier in the press conference that he didn’t watch CNN.
“I mean, I watch CNN, it’s so much anger and hatred and just the hatred,” Trump said. “I don’t watch it any more because it’s [not] very good. … But I think it should be straight. I think it should be — I think it would be frankly more interesting. I know how good everybody’s ratings are right now but I think that actually — I think that’d actually be better.”
Despite Trump’s claims, CNN President Jeff Zucker said during a state-of-the-company luncheon on Thursday that “there has been no diminution whatsoever in the CNN brand.” Referring to the network’s brand survey, which gauged the viewer impact of CNN’s coverage of Trump and the president’s accusations of “fake news,” Zucker added, “[CNN’s] as strong as it’s ever been. It’s incredibly trusted and we see no impact whatsoever in all of those attacks on the CNN brand.”