CNN president: Network’s ‘credibility is higher than ever’

CNN President Jeff Zucker says President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE's attacks on his network are an attempt to "delegitimize journalism,” adding that CNN's "credibility is higher than ever.”
 
"It’s just unfortunate that the most powerful person in the world is trying to delegitimize journalism and an organization that plays such a vital role in our democracy," Zucker told New York Magazine in an interview Wednesday.
 
"I think he’s entitled to his opinion, but it’s — to use one of his favorite words — sad."
 
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Zucker reflected on Trump’s press conference last week, when the president-elect refused to let CNN reporter Jim Acosta ask a question and accuse him of “fake news.”
 
"I think the era of access journalism as we’ve known it is over," said Zucker, who took over at CNN in 2013. 
 
"It doesn’t worry me that Donald Trump hasn’t done an interview with CNN in eight months. I think our credibility is higher than ever, and our viewership is higher than ever, and our reporting is as strong as ever. … Continuing to have an adversarial relationship with that network is a mistake."
 
Trump has not appeared on CNN since an August interview with Anderson Cooper, and has repeatedly attacked the network by calling it "dishonest as hell" and "fake news." 
 
Zucker — who once ran NBC Universal, including MSNBC — also said MSNBC ”Morning Joe" co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski made a mistake by going to Trump's Mar-a-Lago hotel to attempt to arrange an interview on New Year's Eve.
 
"I think in that case, optically, it would have been a lot better to have just made a phone call and ask for the interview," said Zucker. 
 
Asked if he ever spoke to Megyn Kelly about coming to CNN, Zucker said he "had one conversation" with the former Fox News star to host a show in primetime, but the conversation, "never got serious, it never got real."
 
Kelly opted to go to NBC News instead for reportedly millions less than the $25 million Fox had offered per year.