Trump Threatens Freedom of the Press in Secret Meeting Setup by Bannon
President elect Donald Trump held a meeting with prominent journalists, reporters and news organization executives to blast them for the “unfair” and “dishonest” way they portrayed him during the campaign. The meeting was described as “like a f**king firing squad.”
The meeting was held off the record so that participants could not publicly speak about what happened and what was said. CNN ran a story quoting anonymous sources who were in attendance to explain the details of the meeting without violating their “off the record” status.
Kellyanne Conway was credited for setting up the meeting for Trump who was accompanied by Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
Conway told reporters outside the Trump Tower: “It was very cordial, very productive, very congenial. It was also very candid and very honest. From my own perspective, it’s great to hit the reset button. It was a long, hard-fought campaign.”
Journalist Arthur Sulzberger Jr said the meeting was to be “small” and “off-the-record” in private which would be followed up by “an on-the-record session with reporters and editorial columnists.”
Those in the media who attended included:
- Chuck Todd, host of Meet the Press
- ABC anchors David Muir and George Stephanoppoulos, and correspondent Martha Raddatz
- CNN anchors Erin Burnett and Wolf Blitzer
- CBS News representatives Charlie Rose, Gayle King, Norah O’Donnell, John Dickerson
- Presidents of MSNBC, NBC, ABC, Fox and Jeff Zucker, chairman of CNN Worldwide
Trump reportedly told Zucker: “I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed.”
Combative was the tone of the meeting wherein Trump sat in a boardroom with 30 to 40 members of the mainstream media sitting around a conference table to listen to the president elect tell them that they all lied about their coverage of him and did not understand his appeal to 60 million Americans.
Trump repeatedly said “we’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong” and called the media “deceitful liars”.
CNN was most discussed at the meeting, and the target of the majority of Trump’s antagonism toward them.
The president elect also commented on Katy Tur without mentioning her by name, saying that an “NBC female correspondent who got it wrong”.