CNN head Jeff Zucker says Fox News is ‘not a journalistic organization’

CNN president Jeff Zucker

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CNN president Jeff Zucker
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Lucas Jackson/Reuters

  • CNN President Jeff Zucker slammed Fox News in remarks on Thursday, saying the competitor was “not a journalistic organization.”
  • Zucker, who has previously called Fox “state-run television” rejected CNN host Brian Stelter’s statement that Fox employs many high-quality journalists.
  • The CNN chief also said he’d be interested in hiring Shep Smith, the Fox News host who recently resigned, when his non-compete agreement with Fox expires.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

CNN President Jeff Zucker slammed Fox News in remarks on Thursday, saying the competitor was “not a journalistic organization.”

Zucker, who has previously called Fox “state-run television,” argued there is “no difference” between Fox’s news and opinion sides and that the network is “conspiracy TV.” And he rejected CNN host Brian Stelter’s assessment that Fox employs many high-quality journalists.

“You repeat that line a lot and it’s one of the mistakes I think you make in your journalism,” he told Stelter at CNN’s Citizen conference on Thursday afternoon, according to The Hollywood Reporter’s Jeremy Barr. “Are there are handful of really good journalists in that organization? Sure. Is there one or two really good anchors at that organization? Sure. But that doesn’t make it a news organization and that doesn’t make it a journalistic enterprise.”

This comes amid ongoing tension between Fox’s news reporters and anchors and the network’s high-profile opinion hosts.

Zucker also said he’d be interested in hiring Shep Smith, a veteran Fox News anchor who resigned unexpectedly earlier this month shortly after an on-air spat with opinion host Tucker Carlson.

“I think Shep’s a great journalist,” Zucker said. “When he’s available, he is somebody who is very talented and I would be very open to talking to him.”

Responding to recent claims by President Donald Trump that he would be resigning from CNN soon, Zucker said he has “no intention” of leaving the company.

The CNN chief also attacked Facebook, calling the company’s newly-public policy allowing politicians to lie in political ads “absolutely ludicrous.” He said the social media giant should stop hosting political ads until it can figure out a more coherent approach.

Fox News foreign correspondent Trey Yingst pushed back on Zucker’s criticism on Thursday, tweeting out examples of his colleagues’ work and praising the network.

“If you don’t think Fox News is a ‘journalistic organization,’ I’d encourage you to take a look at the work my colleagues have done over the past year,” Yingst wrote.