‘May be a felony’: CNN in full-blown panic mode trying to handle Project Veritas fallout
It seems CNN can’t handle the Veritas.
America’s original cable news network finds itself in circular firing squad mode after conservative activist James O’Keefe, founder of the group Project Veritas, dropped a file of surreptitiously recorded conference calls among CNN execs, led by President Jeff Zucker.
The recordings, made over a two-month span before the election, show Zucker offering guidance on how to bury stories that may help President Donald Trump.
CNN’s immediate response, through its communications team, was to whine about going to the authorities. “Legal experts say this may be a felony,” CNN tweeted at O’Keefe. “We‘ve referred it to law enforcement.”
Legal experts say this may be a felony. We‘ve referred it to law enforcement.
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) December 1, 2020
Hypocrisy of the highest order.
For one thing, CNN offered plenty of air time all summer long to aggrieved Black Lives Matter activists demanding that we defund the police. So now, CNN wants to call the cops? OK.
But then let’s not forget how CNN’s “journalists” dealt with secret recordings of first lady Melania Trump. Two months ago anchorman Anderson Cooper broke an exclusive of recordings of Mrs. Trump made in 2018 by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former adviser and friend of the first lady who wrote a book about her relationship. The tapes revealed Mrs. Trump’s profanity-laced comments about decorating the White House for Christmas and mocking critics of the administration’s policy of detaining children illegally crossing the border.
The White House pointed out at the time that Wolkoff violated a nondisclosure agreement by releasing the tapes, which the national media had no problem pouncing on after Cooper aired them.
Nonetheless, when O’Keefe put the shoe on the other foot recently, he revealed how CNN, rather than report the news, was flexing its opinion muscle.
For instance, as President Trump was recovering from a bout with COVID-19, Zucker said the president was “acting erratically,” partly because he realized he was “losing” to Joe Biden. Zucker added that CNN should not “normalize” Trump’s behavior. Rather, Zucker added, “He is all over the place and acting erratically. And I think we need to lean into that.”
In another instance, when the New York Post broke the story about Hunter Biden’s laptop and his global quest to pick up bags of cash from international interests in countries where his father had overseen American policy, Zucker directed his troops, “I don’t think that we should be repeating unsubstantiated smears just because the rightwing media suggests that we should.”
Hello kettle? Pot calling.
To remind Zucker, his network was among the first to report the phony and discredited Steele dossier, which supposedly linked the president to Russian operatives working on his behalf in the 2016 election, and his team breathlessly reported the president’s downfall each time liberal insiders leaked info from the various investigations into that. CNN’s willingness to stand by its reporting on that, even after Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the Justice Department’s inspector general made separate reports demolishing the credibility of the dossier, was even too much for Erik Wemple, the lefty media critic for The Washington Post. In a column in January, Wemple advised, “Come clean, CNN.”
O’Keefe’s tapes also reveal how Zucker encouraged his staff to invoke the 9/11 terrorist attacks to denounce President Trump’s legal right to challenge the election results, to “go after” GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham for defending Trump on that and opining that CNN’s chyrons, notable for their loaded anti-Trump language, were “too polite.”
O’Keefe’s handiwork at confirming the left-wing bias many conservatives already knew existed at CNN prompted the network’s Chris Cillizza to sniff on Twitter, “So, let me get this straight: Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN, providing editorial direction and thoughts on a staff call every morning is bad somehow? So dumb. It’s called doing his job. The end.”
So, let me get this straight: Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN, providing editorial direction and thoughts on a staff call every morning is bad somehow?
So dumb. It's called doing his job. The end.
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) December 2, 2020
What makes that mini tantrum hilarious is Cillizza’s own tweet from October 2016: “Let me say for the billionth time: Reporters don’t root for a side. Period.”
O’Keefe and Project Veritas just proved otherwise.