President-elect Donald Trump held an off-the-record meeting with several top media execs and on-air personalities on Monday and, according to different accounts, the proceedings became heated.
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway told Deadline the meeting was “excellent” and added that, after a contentious campaign cycle that often saw Trump and several media outlets at odds, it was “great to set the reset button.”
But other reports painted the meeting as much less cordial. The New York Post reported that Trump used the occasion to call out certain media execs like CNN Chief Jeff Zucker, to whom Trump reportedly said that he “hated” his network and that “everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed.”
The New York Times said attendees including Lester Holt, Charlie Rose, George Stephanopoulos and Wolf Blitzer were told that they all got it wrong during the campaign.
Deadline cited other sources that admitted the meeting became heated but that it was “not the overall tone of the session,” adding that much of the discussion addressed issues including access and the press pool.
After many TV networks enjoyed a ratings boost during the election cycle, attention is now turning to what kind of access to President-elect Trump the press can expect once he takes office in January. As Deadline points out, Trump opted to use Twitter later that day to deliver a video update on policy instead of going through the major media outlets.
Of course, open access to the White House is imperative for news networks, particularly those looking to fill a 24-hour news cycle.
Of course, media companies are also watching the Trump transition for how it could affect the regulatory environment. Of particular interest to companies including Time Warner Inc., which is currently pursuing an $85 billion merger with AT&T, is what will happen at the FCC under Trump’s presidency.
Reuters reports that economist Jeff Eisenach and former Sprint lobbyist Mark Jamison have both been named to Trump’s FCC transition team. Both men have spoken out against regulations including net neutrality while both have also voiced support for large mergers including Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal, which sets a close precedent for the AT&T-Time Warner deal.