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Angered by news coverage of his campaign and transition, President Donald Trump seemingly considered giving Fox News exclusive rights to coverage of his Inauguration, according to a Tuesday New York Times report.
CNN President Jeff Zucker told The Times that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, attempted to broker a deal with 21st Century Fox’s Rupert Murdoch.
“This is crazy,” Zucker says he told Trump. “You’re just going to give your inaugural coverage to your base of support? It makes no sense.”
Kushner has long considered Murdoch a mentor, having courted his advice after Kushner purchased The New York Observer in 2006. The Times report did not say why the deal was called off.
Fox News dismissed this account in an email to The Huffington Post on Tuesday.
“There is no possibility of this ever happening given FOX News is part of the White House pool and the entire Inauguration is always divided up between the members of the pool ― NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and FOX News ― and each network takes on different responsibilities,” a Fox News spokesperson wrote in an email.
Trump has praised Fox News’ coverage of his campaign and presidency on multiple occasions.
During a meeting in December, Kushner reportedly asked Zucker why CNN hadn’t yet fired anti-Trump commentators, including Van Jones and Ana Navarro. Zucker, according to the Times, insisted that the network needed to keep “a diversity of opinion” on its shows. Kushner has since brought his complaints about CNN’s coverage, which he believes is biased against Trump, to a senior executive at the network’s parent comany, Time Warner.
Trump has attacked CNN on numerous occassions, accusing the network of unfair coverage of his presidency. At a press conference in January, Trump refused to answer CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s question, calling CNN “terrible” and “fake news.”
In February, Zucker accused Trump of attempting to “delegitimize the media” in order to play to his political base and protect himself against critical reporting, calling it “calculated” and “very dangerous.”
Zucker, the former CEO of NBC, is sometimes credited with Trump’s rise to prominence, as Zucker helped make Trump a reality-show star with NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.” CNN, under Zucker, was also accused of giving Trump copious coverage during the presidential campaign, capitalizing on his celebrity to boost the networks ratings.