In accepting Fred Dressler Leadership Award Award, CNN chief Jeff Zucker says “The truth is under assault; We are certainly not the enemy of the people.”

Thursday in New York, WarnerMedia news chairman Jeff Zucker was honored with the Fred Dressler Leadership Award at the annual Mirror Awards ceremony, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Some of Zucker’s talent put together a tribute video, honoring their CNN boss.

“I said to him one time, ‘You are the only boss I’ve had who is ballsier than I am,’ and I really meant it,” The Lead anchor and Chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper said of Zucker.

Chris Cuomo agreed: “He completely changed CNN.” He also ribbed him, saying, “One of his best skills is the ability to not seem as short as he actually is.”

Nodding to Zucker’s past comments about maybe seeking political office, Discovery CEO David Zaslav said, “The more awards he can get before his mayoral campaign, the better.”

“I’ve had this most blessed career, but none of it compares to the work we are doing right now at CNN,” Zucker said. “Sadly, the truth is under assault,” he said. “The press is under attack from the most powerful people in the world, and that is wrong and it is dangerous. These are the times that call for leadership. I am proud to stand up for the truth, I am proud to stand up for the free press. We are certainly not the enemy of the people.”

Zucker also apparently stepped in it when talking to New Day host Alisyn Camerota, who emceed the event. “I was gonna say that I love waking up WITH YOU every morning, but I want to say that I love waking up TO YOU every morning.” THR’s Jeremy Barr reports there were groans in the room when he made that remark.

Zucker: CNN “is a very different network than it was four years ago.”

CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker declared that CNN “is a very different network than it was four years ago,” in an interview with Beet TV.

He also touted the success the network has been having, as a result of the 2016 election. “CNN has shown the most growth of any television network in America because of its coverage of the presidential election this year and we’re only half way through the year. It’s been an incredible year for us.”

Zucker also pointed to primetime anchor Anderson Cooper, noting he had been flying high, from interviewing presidential candidates, moderating debates and town halls, and writing a best-selling book with his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt.

“His coverage of what happened in Orlando at the Pulse nightclub was some of the most heart warming, gripping and sensitive coverage of that story anywhere and I think really was another defining moment for his career,” Zucker said.

Trump donated $150,000 to nonprofit that CNN’s Zucker’s wife was on board of

GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s foundation donated $150,000 to the nonprofit private school in Manhattan, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School, reports BuzzFeed. But the report also notes that CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker’s wife Caryn Zucker was on the board of the nonprofit that Trump donated to, and BuzzFeed makes issue of the fact Zucker — more specifically, CNN — had not disclosed the donation on its airways.

The report notes that five months before Trump announced his candidacy, he and his wife, Melania, posed for a photograph with Caryn at the Upper West Side school’s annual benefit; that same day, Trump’s foundation donated $50,000 to the school.

CNN spokeswoman Allison Gollust declined to comment to BuzzFeed on the Zucker family’s relationship with Trump, but pointed out that Caryn Zucker is no longer on the school’s board.

Caryn Zucker declined to comment as well.

CNN has received much criticism for its coverage of Trump, and some see this as a potential bias for Zucker in favor of Trump. BuzzFeed further notes that in Trump’s books, Zucker refers to Trump as a “total dynamo.”

Group demands CNN fire Trump-friendly analysts

20,000 emails have reportedly been sent to CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker and Executive Vice President for Talent Amy Entails, demanding that the network fire Donald Trump supporter/CNN analyst Jeffrey Lord and quit giving Trump supporter Andy Dean airtime.

In late February, CNN banned former Trump adviser Roger Stone after incendiary comments about CNN political commentator Ana Navarro.

“When CNN pays people like Jeffrey Lord and Andy Dean to defend and make excuses for Trump’s racist and violent message CNN is anything but unbiased, and ends up validating Trump’s violent message for millions of viewers,” Rashad Robinson, director of the group demanding CNN fire the analysts, said in a statement.

“Media companies like CNN try to have it both ways – making bank from reinforcing divisive, reckless and dangerous myths about our communities while pretending that they are ‘unbiased.’ That ends now.”

CNN anticipates ‘significantly smaller’ ratings for Democratic debate

CNN isn’t anticipating record-breaking numbers for their Democratic debate tomorrow. The Republican debate, by comparison, had 22.9 million viewers, and was moderated by State of the Union anchor Jake Tapper (and maybe they chose Anderson Cooper to moderate and not Jake Tapper because they knew they would have lower ratings).

“Viewership for the first two GOP debates was an anomaly in a highly unusual Republican nomination cycle. While I won’t predict ratings for this debate, we expect the audience to be significantly smaller,” CNN Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist told Politico.

In an interview with CNNMoney, Feist cautioned, “You can’t predict the ratings for this Democratic debate based on the recent Republican debates because those are apples and oranges.”

CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker told the New York Times to expect “more direct questioning of each individual candidate” with fewer candidates on stage.

In comparison, however, Mediaite columnist Joe Concha predicted that CNN would have 10.3 million viewers tune in for the first Democratic debate — which would be the highest Democratic debate on cable.

Trump campaign recommends someone for CNN to hire; CNN hires him

Jeffrey Lord joined CNN back in August as a political commentator, doing hits to defend GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

In a must-read piece by Erik Wemple of the Washington Post, however, Lord explains just how he (thinks) got hired.

According to Wemple’s account, either Trump or a staffer complained to CNN that CNN featured Jeb Bush friendly-analysis and that they should seek someone to offer Trump-friendly analysis. So then, the Trump campaign recommended Jeffrey Lord — and the rest is history.

Asked if he actually likes Trump, he replied, “Oh yeah, if my heart weren’t in it, I wouldn’t do it. I genuinely like him. I think he’s terrific. I think he’s a good human being.”

But, and this may be the most interesting tidbit, Lord’s contract with the network only runs through December 31 — and, as Wemple rightly asks, could this mean Zucker thinks Trump’s facade of running for president will be over by then? Lord denies that, “No.”

An inside look at Jeff Zucker’s scheduling marker board

Courtesy of Mike Rowe’s Somebody’s Gotta Do It, viewers have an inside-look at CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker’s scheduling marker board, and its ever-changing programs:
Two noteworthy things: One, CNN Tonight is written as airing on Fridays at 9pm, which it has for the past month or so – and is evidently now permanent.

And another noteworthy thing, though not surprising, is CNN Newsroom: Live from Los Angeles, which debuts next week, will only be for its entire show (12-2am) on Mondays, and every other day will only air it 1-2am.

(Side note: This probably isn’t Jeff Zucker’s real marker board, but…)

Jake Tapper: “I could have gone another hour”

Today on-air, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer mentioned the criticism that CNN’s Republican debate got that the debate ran a little too long to the debate’s moderator, Jake Tapper. (The undercard debate went from a little after 6 until 7:45; the main event went from 8:15 to 11:15).

Tapper, however, pointed out that the decision was not his own. “That was a decision made by my boss, and yours, [CNN Worldwide President] Jeff Zucker,” Tapper said. “So it’s not one I would second-guess.”

He acknowledged they didn’t get to cover all the ground he would have liked to, and conceded he wouldn’t have minded another hour. “There were a number of issues that I wanted to get to, that I had questions for that we didn’t get to: veterans’ affairs, Black Lives Matter, police, education, trade,” Tapper said. “We let people go back and forth if we thought it was good so some of those questions fell by the wayside. The truth is I could have gone another hour, but I don’t think the viewers would have stuck with us.”

Center stager Donald Trump tweeted before the debate even began that CNN is “milking” the debate for almost three hours.

(H/t Talking Points Memo)