Kushner Suggests Firing CNN Staff Over 'Wrong' Election Coverage

Kushner Suggests Firing CNN Staff Over 'Wrong' Election Coverage

Kushner told Time Warner executive Gary Ginsberg that CNN should fire the employees because they were so wrong in their analysis of how the election would turn out, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The agency's reservations about approving the tie-up appear to stem from concerns about how competition could be harmed by the consolidation of AT&T's distribution platforms with Time Warner's wide range of content.

The newspaper's source in the White House said that this was meant merely as a joke and Kushner did not mean to be taken seriously. As a candidate, Trump vowed to block the deal shortly after it was announced, but has not addressed the issue publicly as president.

Justice Department sources told The Hill and other outlets earlier this week that AT&T had offered to sell CNN from the combined company to get the merger approved by regulators.

Several Democratic senators warned the deal would lead to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.

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"I didn't make that decision", Trump told reporters. In a separate statement, DOJ's new antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, said he has "never been instructed by the White House on this or any other transaction under review by the antitrust division".

AT&T has argued against selling off either company's assets, as it believes this would undercut the rationale for the tie-up. The companies had been planning to finalize the deal by the end of the year, and just last week AT&T said it was confident it would win approval for the deal since it does not involve direct competitors. "For me it would be virtually impossible to not take that into account".

"Are we really going to make the (Justice Department) use antitrust law to force the sale of a cable channel because the President doesn't like its news coverage?" tweeted Jessica Rosenworcel, member of the Federal Communications Commission. Stephenson was responding on a question on whether he would consider selling Turner or HBO. "Throughout this process, I have never offered to sell CNN and have no intention of doing so", he said.

It's also unlikely AT&T will agree to sell or spin off DirecTV, Barclays analysts wrote Thursday. AT&T stock closed up 1.1 percent at $33.44.

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