Stankey also vowed that CNN would continue to be editorially independent — a likely nod to President Donald Trump’s frequent criticisms of the news outlet.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump promised to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner over concerns that the combined company would be too powerful. That was considered an unusual move because merger reviews are typically conducted by career professionals at the Justice Department or Federal Trade Commission, independently of the White House.
“As an example of the power structure I’m fighting,” he said, “AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”
Trump’s specific mention of CNN prompted some analysts to wonder whether his opposition to the deal was in fact rooted in his dissatisfaction with the network’s coverage of him. That perception was reinforced last month when the Daily Caller and The New York Times reported that the White House was considering using the AT&T deal as “leverage” against CNN.