Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN, said on July 5 that his network will fight back against President Donald Trump in their war of words and social media posts.
"My job is to remind everyone that they need to stay focused doing their job," Zucker told The New York Times when asked if he was shaken by his network's dispute with Trump. "He's trying to bully us, and we're not going to let him intimidate us. You can't lose your confidence and let that change the way you conduct yourselves."
The president has spoken out against CNN since he campaigned in the 2016 election, though tension between Trump and the network escalated on July 2, when he posted to his Twitter account a World Wrestling Entertainment video that a Reddit user edited to depict the president beating up a man whose face is covered by the CNN logo, notes The Associated Press.
The original clip comes from a 2007 Wrestlemania event, in which Trump tackles WWE owner Vince McMahon, takes him down and does a quick ground-and-pound before walking away.
Trump also retweeted the post on his official presidential account.
A Twitter spokesperson told AP that the post is Trump's most retweeted one on his personal account, with more than 350,000 shares as of the afternoon of July 6. It has edged out his Election Day post, which read: "TODAY WE MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"
CNN has faced increased scrutiny since Trump's election, in part due to the tension between the network and both Trump and his supporters, though a number of what many have called missteps -- including retracting a sensitive article that caused three top journalists to resign -- has not helped the media outlet either, notes The Times.
Changing an incorrect preview of former FBI Director James Comey's testimony and firing hosts Kathy Griffin and Reza Aslan after each leveled online attacks against Trump caused additional backlash.
The network also stirred controversy on July 6 after publishing a story detailing how it tracked down the man who originally posted the CNN/WWE video on Reddit. Some said the article included an implied threat to the Reddit user.
"He is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again," reads a portion of the article.
Zucker and Trump go way back, as they worked together on the president's former reality competition show "The Apprentice," notes The New York Times. Trump reportedly considers CNN's negative coverage of him to be a betrayal.
"Television is his preferred medium," Zucker told The Times. "And he knows our viewers can be swayed because they're not watching Fox or MSNBC."