Politics | July 19, 2017 10:15 am

Has President Trump’s ‘Fake News’ Criticism Made a Shambles of CNN?

Turmoil at the network could spell the end for CEO Jeff Zucker.

Are Jeff Zucker's Days Numbered at CNN?
Jeff Zucker attends the 2017 Turner Upfront at Madison Square Garden on May 17, 2017 in New York City. (Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)

CNN has been having a rough go of it since November 2016. Not only has the cable news network become the favorite punching bag of a sitting president, but it’s also weathered some internal scandals that haven’t painted a pretty picture for viewers or its massive online readership.

All of this has started to cause a fracture in its identity—and put its employees on edge. “When the light goes on, to me, it’s like hearing the bell sound the beginning of a round,” anchor Chris Cuomo told Vanity Fair. “When the show starts, it is ding ding ding, who is coming at me and with what kind of weapon today?”

Why the continued assault? As Vanity Fair argues, “it’s personal,” as CNN’s CEO Jeff Zucker, while at NBC, helped bring Trump’s Apprentice onto the air.

But President Trump and Zucker had a falling out during the campaign—based on what Trump clearly believes to be a witch hunt by the network to defame or criminalize him (read: the attacks of “fake news”).

And now that parent company Time Warner is preparing to merge with AT&T, and it’s a deal that might not go through if Zucker is still helming CNN, as it would have to pass government regulatory muster. Even so, CNN could still be sold off in the wake of the deal (CBS has shown interest, for example).