NEW YORK — CNN’s top executive on Thursday tore into Fox News, accusing the network of harming America and comparing it to Russian propaganda.
Asked at Financial Times’ “Future of News” conference about how CNN’s ratings stack up against Fox’s, CNN president Jeff Zucker offered some of his sharpest criticism of the rival cable-news network to date.
The CNN chief specifically cited former Fox News analyst Ret. Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, who quit the network this week and sent a note to colleagues lamenting Fox’s transformation into a “propaganda machine.”
Zucker concurred, adding that Fox’s pro-Trump turn has “shocked” him. Russia’s state-run television outlets, he remarked, “has nothing” on Fox News.
"It is really state-run TV, it is a pure propaganda machine, and does an incredible disservice to this country,” Zucker said of Fox News.
He added: “There are a handful of good journalists there, but I think they are lost in a complete propaganda machine, and the idea that they’re a news channel is not the case at all.”
The CNN president has long been a critic of Fox News, which eclipses both CNN and MSNBC’s ratings during primetime—an achievement that Zucker on Thursday chalked up to Fox’s dedicated and partisan conservative audience.
Indeed, Zucker didn’t seem to think he made any news Thursday, telling several reporters after his appearance that he’d criticized Fox News before.
But he acknowledged that clips of his latest Fox bashing would likely get blasted out by the “smear-machine.”
“I’ll get attacked all night tonight and all night tomorrow night for saying this, but whatever,” he said on the panel. “It’s the truth.”