In the wake of President Donald Trump's repeated attacks on the media, CNN's president criticized many leaders in Congress for not speaking up.
"I do think that one of the things that has surprised me is how gutless many Congressional leaders have been in standing up to these attacks on the media," said CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker, in a discussion with reporter Wolf Blitzer held Sunday at the Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center in New York City.
Since Trump's election, he has blasted U.S. news media for spreading what he calls "fake news" — a designation he often makes for reports that are critical of the administration.
In a recent appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference, he criticized the use of anonymous sources and doubled down on recent critiques. On Twitter, he claimed "fake news media" are "the enemy of the American People" and "a great danger" to America and likened critical news coverage to "a total political witch hunt." CNN and The New York Times have been two of the president's most frequent targets.
President Trump Tweet: FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn't tell the truth. A great danger to our country. The failing @nytimes has become a joke. Likewise @CNN. Sad!
President Trump Tweet: The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!
Zucker praised Sen. John McCain's recent comments on the media. McCain, who has been an outspoken critic of some of Trump's actions in the Oval Office, called the free press "vital" in an interview earlier this month with NBC's "Meet the Press." Without it, McCain cautioned, America would lose too many "individual liberties," adding, "that's how dictators get started."