CNN Faces Accusations of Enabling Dictators and Silencing Trump Critics

Donald Trump speaks during the CNN Debate. RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images

The apples are nearing their expiration date…

The $890 million sale of Dogan Media Group, which includes the local broadcasting network CNN Turk, has drawn scrutiny over its controversial buyer: Demirören Holding, a business conglomerate with close ties to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Demirören is viewed largely as an advocate for Erdoğan’s regime. The New York Times noted last week that Erdoğan Demirören, the company’s owner, apologized to the Turkish president over an article his organization published.

“Did I upset you, boss?” Demirören weeped in a leaked phone conversation between the two men.

A giant question mark currently hangs over whether Time Warner, the parent company of CNN, will revoke the Turkish affiliate’s licensing agreement. Erdoğan’s regime has arrested hundreds of journalists and is accused of widespread human rights violations by the United Nations.

“We will be meeting with the new owners in due course to discuss the implications of the sale.‎ If, following those conversations, we have any reason whatsoever to believe the journalistic integrity of the channel could be compromised by the new owners, we will revoke the license,” CNN’s worldwide executive vice president and chief marketing officer Allison Gollust said in a statement.

Though outrage toward the sale mostly pulses around the right-wing media bubble—Fox News’ Tucker Carlson accused CNN Worldwide of using its “brand to brainwash and control” Turkish citizens—critics of President Donald Trump also feel targeted by the network.

Despite its reputation as a mecca for Democratic resistance, political consultant and fervent Trump critic Cheri Jacobus accused CNN of abetting the Trump campaign after it banned her from television appearances.

The alleged ban followed a public feud between the political operative and Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, in which Jacobus confirmed the campaign’s involvement in a Super PAC revealed by The Washington Post.

By “getting me banned from FOX and CNN when I brought up the WaPo report on that super PAC Trump had and lied about, he and Lewandowski sent the message to other political operatives to shut up or they will end their time on TV & sent the message that they owned Zucker & Ailes,” wrote Jacobus over Twitter last week, who in the past has noted Trump’s relationship with CNN’s president Jeff Zucker.

As the former president and CEO of NBC Universal, Zucker greenlit the Trump-starred business reality series The Apprentice. Even after taking over CNN as president in 2013, Trump and Zucker maintained a symbiotic relationship and used one another for profit and ratings—the network aired nonstop coverage of Trump’s campaign rallies during the 2016 election.

Lewandowski was hired as a political commentator by CNN three days after leaving the Trump campaign in 2016, but resigned later that year.

Neither CNN nor the White House replied to Observer’s requests for comment.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Mrs. Jacobus was banned from CNN the day she confirmed The Washington Post story. CNN’s alleged ban of Mrs. Jacobus occurred several months afterward, following an immediate ban by Fox News the day the comments were made. 

CNN Faces Accusations of Enabling Dictators and Silencing Trump Critics