Cable TV networks that don’t have Trump as president are making “no sense,” they said in an internal memo published by Politico.
The cable industry has been under fire for the way it handled the fallout from the November 2016 election.
A series of high-profile firings of executives and employees over alleged ties to Russia and Trump’s election have led to a culture of suspicion and distrust in cable news, where ratings have been on a downward trajectory since Election Day.
“The cable industry and cable news is so polarized right now,” one cable TV executive said in the memo.
“We’ve got to figure out how to work together.”
The cable network execs also noted the importance of finding a way to avoid being accused of “bias” against Trump.
“If we are to be a source of good information for the American people, then we must also be a voice for truth,” the memo said.
The executives said that a number of cable news networks were “not interested” in joining the Trump administration.
But they also said they would not be “totally silent” about the White House, which the executive said was “so dangerous” for the media and democracy.
“What we do and the way we operate is our business,” one executive said.
“But if we don’t say something, we will be seen as biased.”
The memo said that “cable news outlets” like Fox News and MSNBC “are still in the tank for Trump” and that CNN “is not going to get any of their funding from the Trump Administration.”
The executive added that it would be “unfair to our news consumers” if Fox News “didn’t do the right thing and said, ‘We want to be there.'”
“If cable news were a corporation, they would have to make a statement that they are not going anywhere,” the cable executive said, referring to the president.
“For them to have a platform that is not supportive of the President, that’s their business.”
The execs’ memo came as they tried to build bridges between the cable industry, Trump, and the president-elect, who is known for his aggressive attacks on media outlets and has been criticized for being overly critical of the cable news industry.
The memo was also part of a broad memo sent to cable executives by the president of NBCUniversal, which was written in response to a Trump tweet that said that CNN had been “treated so unfairly” and “lacked credibility” because of its coverage of the Russia probe.
“As a company, NBCUniversal has been and remains committed to the principle of neutrality and is committed to being objective and fair in our coverage,” the NBCUniversal memo said, according to a copy obtained by Politico, which also obtained the memo from The Wall Street Journal.
“However, as a leader of a global media company, we also must remain vigilant about protecting the privacy of our customers, and we are not content to let our editorial independence be taken for granted.”
In response to Trump’s tweet, Fox News said that the president was “playing a dangerous game” with cable news and that it was “disappointed” in NBCUniversal for not being more transparent.
In this context, the Trump tweet is a dangerous distraction from the important work we are doing at NBCUniversal.”