Corporate media outlets prefer to keep themselves out of the headlines, particularly when it comes to clashes with politicians. Off the record, their reps will insist. The reporting speaks for itself.
The rise of Donald Trump — and his gratuitous attacks on the media — has banished any such aversion in the C suite of CNN. When Trump called CNN “fake news” days before his inauguration, the network jumped in to defend its reporting and correspondent Jim Acosta. After President Trump tweeted a video of him wrestling “CNN” to the ground, the company riffed, “It is a sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters. Clearly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied when she said the President had never done so. Instead of preparing for his overseas trip, his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, dealing with North Korea and working on his health care bill, he is involved in juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office. We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his.”
In November 2017, he attacked CNN International, so the company said, “It’s not CNN’s job to represent the U.S to the world. That’s yours. Our job is to report the news.” In December 2017, Trump called host Don Lemon the “dumbest man on television,” so the company said, “In a world where bullies torment kids on social media to devastating effect on a regular basis with insults and name calling, it is sad to see our president engaging in the very same behavior himself.