CNN’s Jeff Zucker: Fox News Is a Republican Front, and Roger Ailes Bio Confirms It

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TCA 2014: CNN chief did not mince words when it came to his distaste for the rival network

CNN chief Jeff Zucker unloaded on Fox News and its chairman Roger Ailes Friday, saying that the network is essentially a front for the Republican Party in response to a question about Gabriel Sherman’s explosive new Ailes biography — which Zucker has yet to read.

“Clearly all I can say at this point, without having read it, is from what I understand it confirms, basically, what we’ve known all along, which is that the Republican Party is being run out of News Corp headquarters, masquerading as a cable channel,” Zucker told the audience at the Television Critics Association winter press tour.

Also read: Roger Ailes Biography: 5 Explosive Allegations From Gabe Sherman’s Tell-All

The president of CNN Worldwide said comments from Ailes in a Hollywood Reporter interview this week that CNN announced they were “out of the news business” were simply meant as a distraction from the details of Sherman’s unauthorized biography, “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” which will be released on Jan. 14.

“I think that criticism is obviously meant to deflect your attention from the book this weekend,” Zucker said in defense of his own comments from last summer.

“[Ailes] doesn’t do an interview in a long time and then does it the week that the book comes out? He’s trying to deflect attention. Clearly there’s probably no other network in American television that is covering news in such a substantial and serious way than CNN.”

Also read: Fox News Denies Roger Ailes’ Sexist, Racist, Volatile Behavior Detailed in New Biography

A Fox News spokesperson told TheWrap that contrary to Zucker’s suggestion, the Hollywood Reporter interview took place in mid-December and had been in the works for months; the timing of its release was not in Fox’s control. The spokesperson suggested that Zucker chose to pick a public fight with Ailes and Fox on Friday to distract from CNN’s ratings, which have lagged behind Fox News and MSNBC.

But Zucker still had many more choice words for his rival networks.

“We happen to be in the news business as opposed to some other fair and balanced networks,” he said, borrowing Fox’s slogan.

“Obviously Fox and MSNBC have partisan political viewers,” Zucker added. “When you watch those channels, you only hear what you want to hear. But if you only hear what you want to hear, you miss the whole story.

He continued, “I think where [CNN] can be is providing the whole story.”

To fill that role, though, Zucker said anchors need to display more “passion” along with asking the tough questions about both sides.

See photos: 2014 TV Preview: 26 Upcoming Shows to Watch This Winter & Spring

Zucker also reiterated his new vision for CNN, which includes more original series programming and a robust CNN Films slate of both produced and acquired documentaries.

“We also recognize that [straight news is] not a growing niche and that there are many places to get that kind of news and information,” Zucker said.

“One of the ways we want to continue to try to remain relevant is to — in addition to the news that we will continue to cover on a daily basis — is supplement that with the series and films that we’ve added to the lineup.”

That includes eight series in 2014 — up from three last year — and 30 to 35 hours of self-produced and acquired films.

Thursday’s 9 p.m. airing of CNN Films’ “Sole Survivor” was the networks’ second highest documentary premiere after “Blackfish,” Zucker said, but Nielsen ratings show the offering came in a distant third place in both total viewers and the key 24 to 54 demographic for the 9 and 10 p.m. hours.

  • Burphelson AFB

    Good for him. I make it a point to never watch Fix Noise, but when I’m flipping channels and pause on it, all I hear is anti Obama/Democrats, picking apart everything. The only time I purposely watched Fix was on Election Night to see all the long faces when it sunk in O won a second term. Waaaaaaah.

    • Sonya A. Willis

      Unlike what MSNBC, CNN give you.

      • Burphelson AFB

        hey – if it’s ok for Fix to be a Republican mouthpiece for almost thirty years, surely you don’t begrudge Dems the same opportunity. I know it makes it harder for Fix to get away with outright lies, but…

        • Sonya A. Willis

          Hahaha you are funny. One CABLE network vs. CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC.

          • Burphelson AFB

            Gee, why do you think so many other networks have a different POV than Fix? Could it be Fix deliberately distorts and filters the news so conservatards can gobble it up?

          • Barry1234

            FOx has a conservative take- and MSNBC has the liberal take. CNN covers both sides- and is critical of both sides- something that Fox, nor MSNBC do much. Nothing surprising about that.

        • StatEco

          Who won the Liar of 2013?
          Oh Obama never lied – that’s your truth.

  • ElderKing

    It’s no news at all. Fox News basically just hires failed Republican candidates as talking heads. They have a few “token” journalists but it is such an insignificant part of their on air programming they might as well not be there. If you are a republican and you lose an election, your next job is almost guaranteed to be on the Fox News Channel.

    • America47000

      Yeah, like Evan Bayh and Dennis Kucinich.

  • craig

    Just because some bleeding heart liberal wants to make a name and money writing a book doesn’t make it so.If O
    Palin writes a book on cnn or msnbc/dnc does it make it the truth

    • Burphelson AFB

      Palin can’t write. It’s doubtful she “reads” anything but Marvel Comics.

      • Barbara6

        How dare you suggest Sarah Palin only reads comics. As she told Katie Couric:
        COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this — to stay informed and to understand the world?

        PALIN: I’ve read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media —

        COURIC: But what ones specifically? I’m curious.

        PALIN: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.

        COURIC: Can you name any of them?

        PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news.

        • Burphelson AFB

          and the Repulsicans wanted to put her a heartbeat away from the presidency. Unreal. They have such contempt for the rest of us.

  • Steve B

    Can we please put a moratorium on people commenting on books they haven’t read, movies they haven’t watched, or video games they haven’t played. They are always about the people reconfirming something they already believe, and using the thing they haven’t actually read/watched/played as validation of that opinion whether it actually is or not.

    While we’re at it, can we put a moratorium on “news” articles about the people who comment on books they haven’t read etc etc. Let’s give the attention to people who have informed opinions about whatever they’re commenting on.

  • SayHi2YourMom4Me

    Well he’s not that far off. But Fox has all their followers saying it’s the other media that’s biased and they are the ones that aren’t

  • southernohioman

    CNN is no different than MSNBC on reporting tactics. You only get a liberal/left picture, just as Fox only gives a conservative/right picture. We used to hear news that was unbiased, whether in print or on screen. What a sad state our country is in.

    • Actina Ontorres

      Fox is actually the “stupid/deluded” picture

  • LawnJockey

    Hmmm, that brings up some interesting thoughts. Maybe television ratings are the purest form of democracy. Since Fox attracts more viewers than all the others the majority of Americans are in fact center-conservative. With that said why won’t CNN and the others respect the will of the people and their right to self government?

    • Actina Ontorres

      populism isn’t democracy you crazy turd, me and 1000 others of us are going to find you, cook you and eat you

  • Sonya A. Willis

    So says the man responsible for destroying NBC which is still struggling to regain its footing. ‘Fair & balanced’ simply means that in the news section of Fox you do get both a Conservative and Liberal viewpoint. In the opinion area of Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly, it is center-right. The same can’t be said for MSNBC, or CNN which presents a very liberal viewpoint and very little if any conservative counter.

    • HopeForpeaceNow

      “‘Fair & balanced’ simply means that in the news section of Fox you do get both a Conservative and Liberal viewpoint.”

      They will include most pertinent facts on any given story, but tell them in a way that damns liberals in their narrative …

      … but the underlying message of the entire agency is = liberals hate America and are destroying it from within … and only conservatives can stop them (of and Jesus and the Flag)

      !

  • HopeForpeaceNow

    Fox News = Koch News

    Forwarding the Conservatarian agenda written by Fred Koch to take over America in 1958 …..

    …. that should be their slogan.

  • ClownishGOP

    Who doesn’t know this? How many morons are there in this country? Ailes is a GOP media consultant pure and simple.

  • ann2609

    OH my God listening to an ex NBC ass accuse Fox of being a Rep mouthpiece is hilarious! One network out of the rest of all television gives voice to the other side, how scandalous! I guess he has to do what he can to try and pick CNN back up. I just love listening to all the haters dis on Fox. They just hate the fact that they tell the stories the other networks won’t because it may make their dudes look bad. Well where was all the hate for the networks and comedy central etc when they were reaming Bush? Please, go watch the race baiters on msnbc/nbc and get your so called news from them. After all they have tingles up his leg and the likes of Al Sharpton to tell ya what’s news according to them.

  • redruffensore

    Now I know how Zucker got his nickname in college…….CxxxxxxOxxxxxxCxxxxxxxK

  • Mydogrules

    So? CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS and NBC are the Propaganda Ministry for the Democrats. How else do think a buffoon like Obama could get elected?