CNN Is Having A Bad Week

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CNN, the 24-hour cable news network that was prompted to dismiss three journalists Monday after publishing a bogus report last week connecting a member of President Donald Trump’s team to a Russia-based investment fund, can’t seem to dodge accusations it ramped up coverage of flimsy Kremlin conspiracy allegations in the name of ratings.

The latest report, produced by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas undercover news operation, involves one of CNN’s most prominent political commentators, former Obama White House special adviser Van Jones, claiming in a secretly-recorded video that “the Russia thing” being driven by the network “is just a big nothing-burger.”

O’Keefe’s latest video, released early Tuesday afternoon, was preceded by a different undercover video released Monday that caught a CNN producer claiming that the Russia narrative being floated by the network and other mainstream news outlets consisted of “bull—-.”

“Like, we don’t have any giant proof,” producer John Bonifield acknowledged in the secretly-recorded clip.

In some of the most damning footage, Bonifield can be seen and heard saying that the primary driver behind CNN’s hyping of connections between Trump and Russia is revenue, as the news channel announced the same day of the Bonifield tape’s release that its second-quarter viewership was “the most watched on record.”

“It’s a business, people are like the media has an ethical [unintelligible] … 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.”

Bonifield later acknowledged that CNN Chief Executive Officer Jeff Zucker, in an “internal meeting,” told staffers following Trump’s pulling out of the Paris climate agreement to “get back to Russia.”

Jones, however, has been publicly critical in the past of those pushing the Trump-Russia narrative. In a video he uploaded to social media, addressing another individual’s question regarding the Russia investigation, Jones was blunt, something that O’Keefe neglected to mention in his “sting” video:

“Unless there is a real smoking gun, which there probably is not, it’s just going to be a big old mess,” Jones answered. “Meanwhile, we are not talking about jobs, not talking about poverty, not talking about solutions, not talking about the addiction crisis.”

Meanwhile, CNN’s Brian Stelter, host of the show Reliable Sources, on Tuesday pointed viewers to a statement released by the network’s public relations arm dismissing Bonifield’s on-camera statements:

Stelter also touted CNN’s ratings:


The video of Jones, however, features one of the network’s political commentators, and not an Atlanta-based “medical unit producer,” a fact that O’Keefe appeared to gleefully point out to his critics.


Prior to the release of the Jones video, Stelter in his daily newsletter attempted Wednesday morning to make a distinction between “pro-journalism” and “anti-journalism,” with the “anti-journalism” crowd consisting of “activists and commenters [who] don’t promote accountability, [but] resentment and hatred.”

“They claim that most, if not all journalists, have sinister agendas,” Stelter added. “That newsrooms are occupied by ‘enemies of the people’ and that the evil ‘MSM’ is propaganda.

“These anti-J people claim that reporters routinely cover up good news and invent bad news. Some of this ‘anti-journalism’ spin isn’t about eradicating bias or improving news coverage, it’s about trying to stamp out reporting altogether. It’s nutty, but it’s insidious, and that’s why I’m bringing it up. Millions of Americans are exposed to these extreme views every single day through social media.”

On Tuesday afternoon, as O’Keefe’s latest video of Jones was making the rounds on the Internet, Stelter focused on Trump’s “attacks” on the media — especially the president’s own “mangling of facts” in his tweets on social media and his press team’s decision to bar audio and video recordings at White House briefings.


Chris Cillizza, a former Washington Post political blogger who joined CNN earlier this year, opined on Tuesday that deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders “seemed to have a plan when she called on Breitbart News’ Charlie Spiering” first during that day’s media briefing.

Spiering, who joined the Trump-friendly Breitbart News outfit in March 2014, proceeded to ask Sanders about CNN’s dismissal of three journalists, and Sanders proceeded to draw attention to O’Keefe’s video.

The briefing also saw a contributor for Playboy magazine lash out at Sanders, accusing her of being “inflammatory” by trying to shift the focus to CNN and the Project Veritas video.

Wrote Cillizza:

“If you think what transpired in those 17 minutes was in any way, shape, or form accidental on part of the White House, then you are, how to put this delicately, wrong.”

Fast-forward to Wednesday afternoon — according to the Daily Beast, a CNN spokesman had just one three-letter response when asked to comment on Jones’s remarks.

“LOL,” the spokesman wrote.

Watch the Jones video: