CNN in New York received a suspicious package, leading police to evacuate the Time Warner building.CNN chief Jeff Zucker has criticised the White House for a “total and complete lack of understanding” of the seriousness of its attacks on the media, as his network’s New York bureau was evacuated for five hours following the discovery of an explosive device sent there.
Feelings were raw at the cable network because of a what it believed was a reluctance by the administration to discuss CNN as one of the targets of crude devices sent to political leaders, and the delivery of a fundraising email that attacked CNN that arrived in inboxes of supporters as the story unfolded.
“The president, and especially the White House press secretary, should understand their words matter,” said Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide. “Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that.”
There was no immediate response from the White House.
The package that included the explosive device and an envelope containing white powder was addressed to former CIA director John Brennan, a frequent Trump critic.
Brennan is actually a contracted analyst at NBC News, although the package’s street address was for the Time Warner Center in New York’s Columbus Circle, where CNN’s offices are.
CNN shifted its broadcast from New York to Washington mid-morning on Wednesday after an alarm sounded and the building was evacuated.
Employees milled about in the streets, along with shoppers in the Time Warner Center mall, which was also evacuated.
Zucker was at the network’s Atlanta headquarters, where he helped direct coverage.
CNN has been a frequent target of Trump’s “fake news” barbs and a “CNN sucks” chant broke out at a Monday campaign rally.
Amid that backdrop, some at CNN were angered by an initial tweet by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that condemned “the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton and other public officials”.
An hour later, she sent another tweet that said the White House’s condemnation “certainly includes threats made to CNN as well as current and former public servants”.
Less than two hours after the CNN offices were evacuated, Trump’s campaign sent a fundraising email to some supporters that specifically targeted CNN and urged recipients to fight back against the “fake news’ attacks and bias against hardworking Americans”.
Campaign chairman Brad Parscale later apologised, saying it was a pre-programmed message that was not caught before news of the explosive device came out.