Watch: 'I want to find a friendly reporter, are you a friendly reporter?' - the moment Trump's presser turned to farce

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Associated Press

The president of CNN said Thursday that neither the network's journalism or business have been hurt as a result of President Donald Trump's attacks.

Donald Trump never looked less presidential than today. Moments like this characterised today's staggering address.
Source: US ABC

Speaking during Trump's at times bizarre press conference today, in which he again attacked CNN and other media outlets over "fake news", Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, said he was worried enough about Trump's labelling of CNN as "fake news" through the campaign and after that he ordered a study last month to see if it had "damaged" the network's reputation with viewers.

He said it hadn't, although CNN did not immediately release details of the survey.

"The CNN brand has been as strong as it has ever been," Zucker said.

Network executives said CNN had its most profitable year in 2016 and was on pace to do even better this year.

In more of his ramblings at the White House, Donald Trump took the opportunity to take a shot at CNN’s Jim Acosta.
Source: Associated Press

The administration has reportedly banned its officials from appearing on CNN, although there have been sporadic exceptions.

The dispute has been most apparent on Sundays, where on two weekends Vice President Mike Pence and presidential aide Stephen Miller were guests on other network political affairs shows but not on Jake Tapper's CNN show, "State of the Union."

Zucker, who said he had not spoken with Trump since December on this or other issues, said it hasn't affected CNN's ability to tell the political story.

"We don't feel it's hurt us in any way," he said.

Donald Trump goes on rambling assessment of what a good a good job he's doing, makes snide remarks at opponents and other bizarre observations in erratic speech to American people.
Source: Associated Press

Angered by the Pence snub, CNN said that it declined an administration offer to instead have aide Kellyanne Conway on Tapper's show, saying she had credibility issues.

Conway has said she wasn't available that day.

But Tapper interviewed her two days later.

"Saying that we have questions about her credibility does not mean that we would never interview her," Zucker said.

Like its rivals, particularly Fox News Channels, CNN has benefited from extraordinary interest in the new administration.

CNN's ratings are up 51 percent this year compared to last, he said.

That's unusual because news network ratings usually tumble after a presidential election.

Trump's lengthy news conference today was filled with media criticism.

But he took questions from a range of reporters; many White House reporters - including CNN's Jim Acosta - had been concerned over the past week when Trump bypassed the mainstream media in three separate news conferences connected to visits by foreign leaders, instead calling on representatives from more friendly news outlets.

Today, Trump even took questions from Acosta, but also specifically criticised some of CNN's coverage of him.

The president said that CNN's 10 pm. news show, hosted by Don Lemon, "is almost exclusive anti-Trump."

"I would be your biggest fan in the world if you treated me right," Trump said.

"I sort of understand there's a certain bias, maybe by Jeff or somebody, you know, whatever reason.

"And I understand that. But you've got to be at least a little bit fair and that's why the public sees it. They see it. They see it's not fair.

"You take a look at some of your shows and you see the bias and the hatred."

Acosta, for his part, told the president that "just for the record, we don't hate you. I don't hate you."

After the news conference, CNN's Tapper said the president was "unhinged."

He said that Trump's performance might play well among people who voted for him, but "a lot of people are going to say, 'that guy isn't focused on me. I don't know what he's focused on.'

"A few minutes later on Fox News Channel, Bret Baier said that Trump's "mesmerising" performance was an illustration of why people had supported him."There are people who are going to say that it was unhinged, or their heads are going to explode at something he said, but this is Trump being Trump," Baier said.

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