The war with the media is nothing new for this President. In fact it started months prior to him ever getting elected, and has continued to expand, especially over the last 2-3 months. The main bullseye for President Trump seems to be the Time Warner-owned news organization, CNN. The attacks against CNN may have started early last year, but over the course of the last month alone they have turned into an all out war — one in which people could actually get hurt.
There have already been dozens of death threats received by CNN employees, and these threats got much more real after multiple employees had their private home addresses leaked online. Then you have the President’s son Donald Trump Jr, pushing fake stories via his Twitter account, to further the narrative that CNN is fake news. He has also suggested that they are breaking the law.
Earlier this week Twitter was buzzing about a hashtag #CNNBlackmail after CNN said that they reserved the right to release the man’s information who made the infamous CNN Wrestlemania tweet. Trump Jr. stated incorrectly that this man was actually a 15-year-old boy. This statement further turned the heat up on CNN, but it was not factual. In fact the individual who made the meme is middle-aged.
If you think that all this is bad enough, especially coming from the President of the United States whose job it is to protect the Constitution as well as the First Amendment and the Freedom of the Press, things could get a whole lot worse. According to a senior administration official, the White House is now discussing a pending merger between AT&T and Time Warner as a potential point of leverage over their foes at CNN.
Back in February, Time Warner’s shareholders voted to sell the company to AT&T for a staggering $85.4 billion, meaning that CNN would become an AT&T company. Like any multi billion dollar merger, the U.S. DOJ must approve the deal, and up until this point, that has not happened. Executives on both sides of the deal have expressed high confidence that the deal will be approved, but that was before Trump’s war with CNN took off.
Ultimately President Trump’s Justice Department will decide whether to approve the merger, and based off of the hard facts, they will have a difficult time finding a legitimate reason not to. With that said, Trump could certainly give the orders, like the White House has been discussing, to at least use the pending deal as a way to leverage their influence over the news organization. It will certainly be interesting to follow how the Trump administration reacts on this. The deal has been expected to close by year’s end.