by Matthew Vadum
Project Veritas reveals what the network’s Russia obsession is really about.
CNN’s relentlessly biased coverage of the Left’s baseless Russian electoral collusion conspiracy theory against President Trump is “mostly bullshit,” a senior CNN producer was caught revealing on sensational hidden camera video footage.
President Trump promptly agreed with the producer on Twitter.
“So they caught Fake News CNN cold, but what about NBC, CBS & ABC?” the president tweeted at 8:47 a.m. yesterday. “What about the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost? They are all Fake News!”
CNN producer John Bonifield made the brazen admission of the network’s absence of journalistic bona fides to an undercover reporter from ACORN-slayer James O’Keefe’s investigative nonprofit, Project Veritas.
“He not only gave us a tour of CNN’s main newsroom, he gave us a window into the editorial bias and anti-Trump agenda of the organization,” O’Keefe says as he narrates the video. Project Veritas is touting the video as the first installment in a multi-part investigation the group calls “American Pravda.”
Our goal is to expose the real motivations behind the decision-making process at our dominant media corporations. Fake News. One story has monopolized President Trump’s time in office like no other, especially on CNN: Russia. In fact, since the Inauguration, CNN has mentioned Russia on their air nearly 16,000 times. So we sent our undercover reporters inside CNN to understand why and to determine if CNN even believes if the story is even real.In the video published online, Bonifield acknowledges that the news network’s nonstop Russian scandal-mongering about Trump has little evidentiary basis.
“Could be bullshit,” said the supervising producer for CNN Health. “I mean, it’s mostly bullshit right now.”
Like, we don’t have any giant proof. Then they say, well there’s still an investigation going on. And you’re like, yeah, I don’t know. If they were finding something we would know about it. The way these leaks happen, they would leak it. They’d leak. If it was something really good, it would leak…. The leaks keep leaking and there’s so many great leaks, and it’s amazing. I just refuse to believe that if they had something really good like that that wouldn’t leak because we’ve been getting all these other leaks. So, I just feel like they don’t really have it but they want to keep digging. And so I think the president is probably right to say, like, look you are witch-hunting me. You have no smoking gun. You have no real proof.“I haven’t seen any good evidence to show the president committed a crime,” Bonifield also says.
“Even if Russia was trying to swing an election, we try to swing their elections, our CIA is doing shit all the time, we’re out there trying to manipulate governments,” he explains.
But CNN is doggedly pursuing the fanciful Russia story because those at the top of the network are focused on “ratings,” he says.
“Our ratings are incredible right now,” Bonifield says.
He’s not lying.
“CNN had its most-watched first quarter in 14 years, both in the key demo and in total viewers,” Variety reports, adding that cable competitors Fox News and MSNBC also experienced “double-digit ratings growth across the board for the second quarter of 2017, according to Nielsen data.”
According to Bonifield, the Russia story regularly crowds out other newsworthy stories where he works. For example, CNN’s coverage of Trump’s disavowal of the Paris Climate Accord barely lasted two days, after which the network eagerly shifted coverage back to the Russia nonsense.
“My boss, I shouldn’t say this, my boss yesterday, we were having a discussion about this dental shoot and he goes and he was just like, I want you to know what we are up against here,” Bonifield says in the video.
And he goes, just to give you some context, President Trump pulled out of the climate accords and for a day and a half we covered the climate accords. 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.When the reporter asks if he was referring to CNN president Jeff Zucker giving orders to the staff, Bonifield replies in the affirmative.
“So, even the climate accords, he was like a day or so, it’s okay, but we’re moving back to Russia,” Bonifield says.
“It’s a business,” he adds.
People are like the media has an ethical … But, all the nice cutesy little ethics that used to get talked about in journalism school, you’re just like, that’s adorable. That’s adorable. This is a business. Especially cable news. Cable news isn’t the New York Times, and it’s not even like NBC News. I mean NBC News still gets 20 million viewers a night. Cable news is getting a million. So, they got to do what they got to do to make their money.Bonifield also admits CNN treats President Trump much differently than it treated President Obama when he was in office.
“I think there a lot of like liberal CNN viewers who want to see Trump really get scrutinized,” he says.
And I think if we would have behaved that way with President Obama and scrutinized everything that he was doing with as much scrutiny as we apply to Donald Trump, I think our viewers would have been turned off. I think they would have felt like we were attacking him. And I’m not saying all of our viewers are super liberals, I think there’s just a lot of them.“Trump is good for business right now,” Bonifield adds.
In damage control mode, CNN didn’t bother defending itself, preferring instead to act as if the startling admissions were much ado about nothing.
“CNN stands by our medical producer John Bonifield,” the network said in a statement that made it clear Bonifield is not working on stories about Trump or the wild Russian goose chase. “Diversity of personal opinion is what makes CNN strong, we welcome it and embrace it.”
Nothing to see here; move along.
When the Project Veritas video was discussed at the daily White House presser, Principal White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders criticized CNN’s journalistic malpractice.
The Atlanta-based media outlet has gotten stories about Trump wrong in “multiple other instances,” she said, encouraging people to watch the video.
And I think if that is the place that certain outlets are going, particularly for the purpose of spiking ratings, and if that’s coming directly from the top, I think that’s even more scary and certainly more disgraceful. And I hope that that’s not the direction we’re headed. I hope that outlets that have continued to use either unnamed sources, sometimes stories with no sources at all – we’ve been going on this Russia-Trump hoax for the better part of a year now with no evidence of anything.Meanwhile, quite apart from Bonifield’s admissions, CNN’s credibility has taken some serious hits.
CNN fired New Year’s Eve host Kathy Griffin after her photoshoot with the fake severed head of President Trump. CNN nixed a documentary series produced by Reza Aslan after he tweeted that Trump was a “piece of shit” and an “embarrassment to humankind” for comments the president made after a terrorist attack in Britain. CNN also formally corrected an error-laden report about former FBI Director James Comey’s congressional testimony.
CNN chief Zucker is reportedly heading an internal investigation into a hatchet-job of a story the network ran with last Thursday but retracted the next day following an investigation by Breitbart News. The withdrawn story, based on a single, unidentified source with unknown motives, claimed Trump transition-team member Anthony Scaramucci was being investigated by the Treasury Department over an alleged meeting he was said to have had Jan. 16 with a Russian government-owned investment fund the source said the Senate Intelligence Committee is probing over possible ties with the Trump administration. Those responsible for the story, CNN reporters Tom Frank and Lex Haris, along with editor Eric Lichtblau, have all resigned.
According to the New York Post, Scaramucci had pondered suing CNN for $100 million for defamation. This comes as the Department of Justice is reviewing AT&T’s proposed $85 billion acquisition of CNN parent Time Warner amid “the widespread belief among media execs that CNN President Jeff Zucker can’t survive a merger.” During the campaign, Trump spoke out against the merger.
The newspaper continued:
Sources said Scaramucci, a frequent guest on CNN to defend the president, was treated like a star at Saturday’s wedding of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Louise Linton in Washington, DC. “Everyone at the White House has been high-fiving each other over Anthony’s success in embarrassing CNN,” one attendee said.High-fiving seems in order.
“Trump is thoroughly enjoying this, and Anthony got endless slaps on the back at Steve’s wedding.”
Catching a major media outlet fabricating an attack piece on a Republican doesn’t happen every day.
Or does it?
With more videos in the pipeline, James O’Keefe will soon let us know.
Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."
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