CNN is doubling down on its fake news, answering a video exposing its fake news with even more fake news, claiming that the Project Veritas exposé was the personal opinion of the employee in the video, which is more fake news. The employee was quoting head of CNN Jeff Zucker.
CNN says a clandestine video of one of the network’s producers criticizing its coverage of President Trump is legitimate, further fraying an already strained relationship between the news network and the White House, according to USA Today.
The video taken by Project Veritas, the political group founded by the conservative provocateur James O’Keefe, shows a CNN producer from its medical coverage team commenting pointedly about the network’s coverage of the alleged ties between Trump and Russia.
When asked by an unrevealed videographer why CNN has been aggressive in covering the story, the producer, John Bonifield, replied: “Because it’s ratings.”
The video shows Bonifield being taped on several occasions, with his replies edited as a compilation.
Bonifield didn’t know that he was being taped, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to comment publicly. The network is not disciplining Bonifield, and CNN editors are treating the comment as Bonifield’s personal thoughts expressed in a non-official capacity, the person said.
“CNN stands by our medical producer John Bonifield. Diversity of personal opinion is what makes CNN strong, we welcome it and embrace it,” CNN said in a statement.
“Diversity of personal opinion?” Very funny! Watch the video again. Bonifield clearly said, “And the CEO of CNN said in our internal meeting, he said, good job everybody covering the climate accords, but we’re done with it. Let’s get back to Russia.” That may not have even been Bonifield’s opinion. He was quoting Jeff Zucker, head of CNN! That is Zucker’s opinion and directive. It is clear!
The O’Keefe associate who filmed Bonifield is not identified in the video. Bonifield has told colleagues at CNN that he met the videographer through a peer-mentoring program, and the associate represented himself as an aspiring journalist who wanted career guidance and mentoring, the person said. They met about five times, the person said.
Steve Gordon, communications director at Project Veritas, didn’t dispute the description of how Bonifield and its videographer met, and defended its use of undercover video. “That’s what Project Veritas does,” he said. “We go undercover. Undercover video has been widely respected.”
The video went viral quickly and widely, shared or commented on by conservatives on Twitter, including Trump and his sons, who see it as yet another piece of evidence confirming their conviction that CNN has a liberal agenda. The video also comes on the heels of a retracted CNN story – about a link between a Trump associate and a Russian investment fund allegedly under investigation by the Senate — that led to its author and two of his bosses resigning this week.
Trump tweeted Tuesday: “Fake News CNN is looking at big management changes now that they got caught falsely pushing their phony Russian stories. Ratings way down!”
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) June 27, 2017
O’Keefe’s video and audio files — which are secretly recorded to show the workings of what he considers to be liberal organizations — are often criticized by media ethicists for selective editing and breaching the conventions of traditional broadcast journalism. O’Keefe and three other men pleaded guilty in federal court in 2010 for falsely representing themselves as telephone repairmen in the New Orleans office of Mary Landrieu, who was then a Democratic senator from Louisiana.
“I think there are a lot of liberal CNN viewers who want to see Trump get really scrutinized,” Bonifield says in a video as he’s driving. “And I think if we’d have behaved that way with President Obama and scrutinized everything that he was doing with as much scrutiny as we applied to Donald Trump, I think our viewers would have been turned off.”
When asked by the Veritas associate in the car if “Trump is good for business,” Bonifield replied: “Trump is good for business right now.”
Gordon said Bonifield’s description of CNN chief’s editorial priorities make the video newsworthy even if Bonifield is not part of the political coverage team. “The CEO of CNN said in our internal meeting, he said, good job everybody covering the climate accords. But we’re done with it. Let’s get back to Russia,” Bonifield says in the video.
CNN, which is owned by Time Warner, doesn’t have a CEO. Jeff Zucker runs CNN Worldwide as its president.
Videoing a source surreptitiously “is slimy,” says Gabriel Kahn, a journalism professor at the University of Southern California. “If they are knocking CNN for bad practices, they need to look at their own, first.”
No, it isn’t! It is done routinely. Where have you been?
“More broadly, we are suddenly operating in an environment where all reporting is perceived as partisan,” Kahn said. “This becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. When the holder of the highest office in the land lambastes coverage he doesn’t like as biased or fake, then, almost by definition, that coverage is seen as partisan by some.”
The news outlets targeted by Trump then are emboldened by the attacks and double-down on the reporting, Kahn said. “That, in turn, makes the president’s attacks seem justified to his supporters. But it doesn’t make the reporting inaccurate,” he said.
Not only is it inaccurate, it is a bare-faced lie to print or broadcast a story that there is no evidence to support. Would Mr. Kahn be so indignant if the journalists were leftists using a hidden camera to expose wrongdoing by Republicans? Of course not. That would be business as usual, completely ethical and above board, and he would be correct. Likewise, when the journalists are patriots and their target is liberal Democrat mouthpiece CNN.