In the past 48 hours, an investigative journalism organization has released two undercover videos purporting to shine light onto the “fakeness” of CNN’s news stories and reveal that they are only promoting a nonexistent Trump-Russia story because it is good for ratings.
The Russia thing is just a big nothing burger . . .There’s nothing there you can do.
The first video, which was released on Monday night, shows CNN producer John Bonifield admitting that there is no evidence behind the claims that President Trump colluded with Russia. During the eight-minute video, Bonifield explains that CNN still focuses on the Trump-Russia story just to keep ratings up.
When asked by an unidentified man working for Project Veritas why CNN is “constantly like: Russia this, Russia that?,” Bonifield quickly replies, “Because it’s ratings.” He says there are “a lot of liberal CNN viewers who want to see Trump really get scrutinized.” However, he admits that their harsh scrutiny would never have been accepted had it been done to former President Obama:
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 applied to Donald Trump, I think our viewers would have been turned off. I think they would have felt like we were attacking him.
According to Bonifield, the instruction to keep covering the Russia story comes from the top:
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 [Jeff Zucker] said in our internal meeting, he said good job everybody covering the climate accords, but we’re done with that, let’s get back to Russia.
Bonifield even admitted that President Trump is most likely correct in saying the media is on a witch hunt:
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.
Bonifield also was caught on camera saying it’s “adorable” to think that the media follows “nice cutesy little ethics that used to get talked about in journalism school.”
Encouraged that the videos back up his claim that CNN is “fake news,” President Trump took to Twitter early Tuesday morning to criticize the news outlet.
Fake News CNN is looking at big management changes now that they got caught falsely pushing their phony Russian stories. Ratings way down!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2017
Yesterday, during the White House’s press briefing, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that “everybody across the country” should watch the video of Bonifield which, if it is accurate, is “a disgrace to all of media, to all of journalism.” She expressed concern with the current state of mainstream media and said that Americans deserve better:
I think that we have gone to a place where if the media can’t be trusted to report the news, then that’s a dangerous place for America. 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. Things like the success at the VA barely get covered. They may get covered for an hour at a time, but this story gets covered day in and day out and I think America is frankly looking for something better. They’re looking for something more and I think they deserve something better from our news media.
“To report not on facts, but instead on narratives that yield high ratings, is exactly the definition of fake news,” said James O’Keefe, the producer at Project Veritas.
If these videos are accurate, everything that has been suspected of CNN has now been admitted by their own people. It seems that, driven by its CEO’s command, the news outlet continues to cover the imaginary Trump-Russia story simply on account of it being good for business since their liberal viewers like to see stories heavily critical of the President.
If and when CNN is ever able to produce any evidence showing that President Trump did indeed collude with Russia, they might have a chance at being taken seriously again. Until then, it appears CNN can rightly be characterized as “fake news.”
Photo credit: Josh Hallett via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)