In a Monday tweet, President Trump has proposed that the United States should create a “worldwide network” that can compete with CNN “to show the World the way we really are”.
“Throughout the world, CNN has a powerful voice portraying the United States in an unfair….” reads President Trump’s tweet. “….and false way. Something has to be done, including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the World the way we really are, GREAT!”
CNN, the first 24-hour news network in the United States, has an international sister network called CNN International. While CNN International cooperates with the CNN national and international news bureaus, it is largely broadcast from studios outside of the United States. CNN International has broadcast studios in London, Shanghai, Mexico City, New Delhi, Johannesburg, and Abu Dhabi. It is unclear if President Trump is displeased with CNN’s domestic or international coverage, or both.
….and false way. Something has to be done, including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the World the way we really are, GREAT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 26, 2018
President Trump was recently defeated in court after revoking the press pass for CNN’s Jim Acosta when a federal judge ordered Acosta’s credentials be reinstated. President Trump has had a contentious relationship with CNN throughout his administration. He has persistently labeled media coverage that he doesn’t like as “fake news” and in recent months has called his opponents in the media “enemies of the people.”
The United States already has a state-funded network. The Voice of America was launched in 1942 and remains the largest US international broadcaster, broadcasting on television, radio, and digital platforms, according to Inside VOA. It is funded by the United States Congress and is part of the US Agency for Global Media, the government agency that oversees all non-military international US broadcasting. Importantly, the VOA has a “firewall” enacted in its legislation that prevents government officials from manipulating the VOA’s content.
During his 2016 presidential campaign, there were reports that should Trump lose the election to Hillary Clinton, he would start his own television network, according to The Hill. President Trump later denied that he had ever considered launching a media network, calling the reports a “false rumor”. However, in October of 2016 Jared Kushner had informally spoken to a media executive about the possibility of creating a Trump media network, but those conversations did not progress.
Mark Lazerus, a senior writer at The Athletic and formerly of The Sun-Times, responded to the president’s tweets with a tweet of his own. “Ah, yes,” he tweeted. “State TV. What could possibly go wrong?”