Trump: CNN’s Zucker, NBC’s Lack should be fired

Toluse Olorunnipa and Jessica Brice
Bloomberg News

President Donald Trump advocated for the heads of CNN and NBC News to be fired on Thursday morning, saying on Twitter that both media outlets were biased against him.

“The hatred and extreme bias of me by @CNN has clouded their thinking and made them unable to function,” Trump said in a post on Twitter. “Little Jeff Z has done a terrible job, his ratings suck, & AT&T should fire him to save credibility!”

CNN chief Jeff Zucker has been a frequent target of barbs from Trump, who has often derided the channel as “fake news.” Trump also attacked NBC News Chairman Andy Lack on Thursday, saying it would be “good” if he were fired.

Trump and his administration sought to block AT&T Inc.’s acquisition of CNN owner Time Warner Inc. While a judge allowed the deal to proceed in June, the Justice Department appealed the decision.

Trump timed his attack on Twitter – knowingly or not – for the exact date Zucker was due to re-assume his duties following a six-week medical leave of absence. Zucker told his staff that he was going to have elective surgery to repair a condition he has had for a decade, according to the cable news channel.

Trump and Zucker have a long history. When Zucker was an NBC executive, he oversaw “The Apprentice,” the reality show that helped vault Trump to national fame.

Trump followed the tweet with another post aimed at Lack.

“The good news is that Andy Lack(y) is about to be fired(?) for incompetence, and much worse,” President Trump said in the post.

Lack has had a long career in television news, including a several-year stint at Bloomberg LP.

Calls to NBC and CNN’s representatives before regular business hours weren’t immediately returned.

CNN responded to an earlier Trump tweet on Thursday, after the president accused the company of falsifying a story about him.

“Make no mistake, Mr. President, CNN does not lie,” the company said on Twitter. “We report the news. And we report when people in power tell lies. CNN stands by our reporting and our reporters.”

CNN has been touting its ratings, reporting the “second-best August ratings ever” in a recent statement.

Trump has increasingly attacked U.S. media companies in recent days. On Wednesday, he said that Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. were biased against Republicans and may be illegally working to silence the party’s views. All of the companies have denied the allegations, and Trump has not provided actual evidence to back them up.