News Analysis
I’ve been saying for weeks that President-elect Donald Trump could reverse his campaign position, and support the AT&T-Time Warner merger — IF he feels that CNN is being fair to him. (Time Warner owns CNN.)

Bloomberg News confirmed my analysis in a January 5 article that said CNN’s coverage of Trump is key to the merger’s chances.

Trump has had a love-hate relationship with the news network for the last year, but he recently shifted to all-hate with CNN pouring on the negative coverage since the election.

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In the January 5th article revealing Trump has told a confidant that he still opposes the merger, Bloomberg writes that Trump believes the network is biased and, consequently, he doesn’t think the AT&T-Time Warner deal should go through.

Well, since that article, CNN has seemingly doubled-down on the negative coverage, culminating in last night’s exclusive report that intelligence officers have notified Trump that Russia may have some kind of incriminating evidence on him.  The report was based in part on a secret British intelligence ‘dossier’ that has been floating around in political circles for months, but has not been verified.

At a press conference today to discuss the report, and other issues, Trump blasted CNN and BuzzFeed (which published the entire dossier, despite any evidence that the contents are true), saying it was more evidence that the media, and particularly CNN, is out to get him.

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Trump spokesperson Sean Spicer said CNN and Buzzfeed were engaging in a “sad and pathetic’ attempt to generate online traffic and viewers at the expense of the president-elect’s reputation.

It says here that the CNN report on Russia will be the last straw for Trump. He will conclude that the news network will never provide fair coverage of him and his administration. Consequently, he will oppose the AT&T-Time Warner merger out of spite, although he might cite philosophical reasons such as he’s concerned that AT&T would be too big if it swallows up Time Warner.

In my view, CNN could now even promise to tone down its anti-Trump reporting (not likely to happen, of course) and it wouldn’t matter to the mercurial ex-reality TV star. He doesn’t trust CNN, and he never will again.

At this point, if I were AT&T and Time Warner, I wouldn’t even bother to submit the merger proposal to the Justice Department. It would be a waste of time and paper.

— Phillip Swann