As the war between the Trump administration and the "fake news" media rages on, after seemingly escalating in recent weeks, Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, allegedly met with a senior Time Warner executive recently to express the administration’s deep concerns about CNN’s news coverage, according to anonymous sources cited by the Wall Street Journal.
The meeting apparently involved Gary Ginsberg, executive vice president of corporate marketing and communications at CNN’s parent Time Warner, and revolved around Kushner's view that CNN's coverage was unfair and slanted against the president. Kushner reportedly even took issue with specific CNN contributors including Van Jones, a Democrat who served in the Obama administration, and Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist, who have each criticized Trump in harsh terms.
A White House official offered the following statement saying it's "no secret that the President and his team have been critical of CNN’s dishonest coverage."
“It’s no secret that the President and his team have been critical of CNN’s dishonest coverage of the President both during the campaign and since his inauguration, and it’s obvious their ratings have suffered as a result. FOX on the other hand provides mostly fair, and more complete coverage of the Administration and their ratings have never been better.”
Meanwhile, CNN defended their ratings...
The CNN spokeswoman said, “Once again, the White House has their facts wrong. CNN’s ratings are up 50%.”
“Our journalism has never been stronger as we continue to hold the administration’s feet to the fire. Those are the facts,” said a CNN spokeswoman.
...and Ana Navarro decided to troll Kushner on twitter:
Little boy Kushner, tough guy who's supposed to achieve Middle East peace, is complaining about me to CNN. Boo-hoo! https://t.co/4W8Sh9sHxy— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) February 17, 2017
Really, Little Jared complaining about me cuz I get under President Daddy-in-Law's skin? Oh, baby boy, I'm so sorry. https://t.co/4W8Sh9sHxy— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) February 17, 2017
Of course, as you may recall, it was CNN's Ana Navarro who had a mini-meltdown early on election night when she predicted a Donald Trump loss while saying it would be "sweet, sweet justice if tonight it was the Latino vote that defeated Donald Trump." It did not.
Of course, adding to the complexity of Trump's strained relationship with CNN is that his administration will oversee the regulatory review of CNN's parent company's proposed sale to AT&T for $85 billion, a deal that he has publicly criticized in the past.
In the final stretch of the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump said he would block the agreement and singled out the news network in his statement. “AT&T is buying Time Warner, and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration,” he said. The deal will be reviewed by government agencies including the Justice Department.
Such rhetoric from a presidential then-candidate and meetings such as the one between Messrs. Kushner and Ginsberg are unusual, according to Mark Feldstein, journalism historian at the University of Maryland.
“Lord knows that every president has been angered by their news coverage, going back to George Washington,” said Mr. Feldstein. “But to engage in that kind of bare-knuckled tactics is extraordinary.”
Needless to say, the next four years will "entertaining", and in some good news for the ailing mainstream media, Nielsen ratings are set to soar every time Trump decides to attack the press on primetime TV.