In a report for New York Magazine this Thursday, Jonathan Chait details "two major attempts" by President Trump to use his power to curtail the media. First, ordering the Justice Department to block an AT&T merger in order to punish CNN. Second, his intervention to deny Amazon a $10 billion Pentagon contract to punish The Washington Post.
Chait then cited a tweet from this Wednesday where Trump attempts to connect what he claims is CNN’s lack of credibility to its bad ratings, "and thereby to AT&T's management."
"CNN is a subject of Trump’s obsessive anger," Chait writes. "During the campaign, he publicly opposed its merger, a position that pointedly contrasted with his general indifference to antitrust issues and corporate consolidation. In the summer of 2017, a New York Times report on Trump’s hatred for CNN included a pointed threat: 'White House advisers have discussed a potential point of leverage over their adversary, a senior administration official said: a pending merger between CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, and AT&T.'"
According to Chait, this all fits a pattern that suggests "Trump used antitrust enforcement against CNN’s corporate owners as retribution for its coverage. And Trump’s tweets suggest, even as the courts stymied him, that he is determined to keep up economic pressure on CNN. Three years into his presidency, he is not giving up on his Orbán-like ambition to discipline and control independent media."
Read Chait's full report over at New York Magazine.