Trump is so mad people in the UK can watch CNN he’s calling for a boycott of AT&T

He doesn't like that CNN is the primary source of American news in the UK.

(Photo Credit: Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
(Photo Credit: Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

President Donald Trump kicked off his visit to the United Kingdom Monday with several angry and bitter tweets. After smearing London Mayor Sadiq Khan as a “stone cold loser” before his plane even landed, Trump then complained that CNN is the primary source of American news in the UK and suggested people boycott parent company AT&T because he doesn’t like the network’s coverage.

“I believe that if people stoped [sic] using or subscribing to @ATT,” he wrote, “they would be forced to make big changes at @CNN, which is dying in the ratings anyway. It is so unfair with such bad, Fake News!”

Whatever Trump may believe about CNN’s rankings, the network itself doesn’t seem concerned. In a press release last week, CNN boasted that it had higher viewership in May than MSNBC and consistently high viewership compared to past years.


Trump had also vowed during his campaign to block a merger between AT&T and Time Warner Media. The Justice Department twice objected to the acquisition, but a federal judge ruled in AT&T’s favor. House Democrats are currently investigating whether Trump abused his power by objecting to the merger for political purposes. As in the other House investigations, the White House is refusing to turn over related documents.

Fox News, which has more American viewers than CNN, is not available in the UK. Fox aired there for 15 years, but in 2017, Rupert Murdoch’s Sky media company took it off the air reportedly because so few people were watching it that it wasn’t making money.

Trump’s preferred news network is so skewed in his favor that it violated British broadcasting standards on several occasions.

A few months after it was taken off the air, the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom) ruled against Fox New for having violated impartiality rules. Specifically, Ofcom concluded that Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson had criticized various British officials without seeking proper comment from the government. Regarding Hannity’s coverage of British officials’ criticism of Trump’s Muslim travel ban, Ofcom wrote:

Ofcom acknowledged that viewers were likely to expect Hannity to address controversial issues from a perspective that is generally more supportive of the US Republican party. However, the likely audience expectations did not provide sufficient contextual justification to outweigh the numerous highly critical statements made about people who had opposed the order, coupled with the clear support being expressed for the policies of President Trump.

Had Fox News still been available at the time, it would have been subject to significant fines from the British government.


It was the travel ban that also ignited Trump’s feud with Mayor Khan. Back in 2015, Khan called then-candidate Trump’s plan to ban Muslims “outrageous” and later called Trump’s views on Muslims “ignorant.” He had even called on the British government to cancel Trump’s state visit in 2017. On Saturday, Khan described Trump’s rhetoric as resembling “the fascists of the 20th century,” calling the president “just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat” from far-right extremists.

Trump’s state visit will last three days and include various dinners, banquets, tours, business meetings, and a commemorative event for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Trump and Khan are not scheduled to meet.

Thousands of people are expected to protest Monday during Trump’s state visit.