CNN Chief Jeff Zucker Defends Corey Lewandowski, Starts Beef with BuzzFeed

Jeff Zucker believes fired Trump camapaign manager Corey Lewandowski is a “great” pundit and that digital outlets like BuzzFeed and Vice are not “legitimate” sources of news. In a Variety cover profile, the CNN president boasts of his hiring Lewandowski within days of his departure from the campaign, saying, “The reason we hired Corey is that now that we are in the general election, I think it’s really important to have voices on CNN who are supportive of the Republican nominee.” He added: “I actually think he’s done a really nice job. He’s come under a much greater spotlight because of who he is, and the relationship he’s had with the media. As a result, people are going to be more critical.”

Later in the interview, when asked about CNN’s top digital competitors, Zucker took shots at several prominent news outlets. “I don’t think Vice and BuzzFeed are legitimate news organizations,” he reportedly said, adding that he would call them “native advertising shops. We crush both of them. They are not even in our same class.” In response to Zucker’s barb, BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith replied, via Politico: “The most important test of any news organization this year is its coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign. I'm happy to put our tough, fair coverage up against CNN's decision to turn its platform over to Jeff's friend Donald Trump.”