President-elect Donald J. Trump continues to break with tradition. His latest departure was an off-the-record gathering of major television pundits and reporters for what was supposed to be a meeting to discuss how Trump would handle media coverage as President.
Instead, the meeting turned into a collective bashing of the gathered journalists and a rant from the President-Elect in which he called out networks and papers for their shoddy journalism and bias.
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The room was filled with all-stars: Lester Holt, Charlie Rose, George Stephanopoulos, even Wolf Blitzer. They all headed to this impromptu meeting in Trump Tower knowing they wouldn’t be able to talk about what was said directly.
Trump’s message was clear, though. Many who were there have discussed what happened, and word is that Trump was livid about the coverage he received in the run-up to the election. Trump even called out some by name, like CNN’s president, Jeffrey A. Zucker.
“It was like a f−−−ing firing squad,” one source told the New York Post. “Trump started with Jeff Zucker and said, ‘I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed,’.”
“The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing-down,” the source added.
Trump’s supporters claimed the meeting as a victory. Most of those he targeted had clear agendas, had endorsed Clinton, and/or participated in the Trump-bashing that defined this election cycle.
Kellyanne Conway, adviser to Mr. Trump, was free to speak of the meeting. “It was very cordial, very productive, very congenial,” Conway told reporters (those not invited to the meeting) at Trump Tower. “It was also very candid and very honest. From my own perspective,” she said, “it’s great to hit the reset button.”
There were some notable agencies left out of the meeting. While Trump felt confident in his assessment of CNN, and in his direct comments on several reporters, he held off on inviting The New York Times. He and his team is meeting independently with them. The Times is the most notable of Trump’s perceived media enemies, and one who he feels strongly about, as a New Yorker.