Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Can CNN Survive Being Exposed as "Fake News"?

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CNN has been deliberately manufacturing fake news about connections and collusion between President Trump and Russia. In the past week, the wheels have come off the cart of the fake Trump/Russia story and CNN has taken a hit in the credibility department culminating in the retraction of an article, the “resignation” of three CNN employees, and the release of videos showing a CNN producer admitting that the story is “bulls**t” and a CNN political commentator calling it a “big nothingburger.”

CNN — along with other liberal mainstream media — has been alleging and insinuating a Trump/Russia connection for months, dating back to before the election. On June 22, CNN went too far even for CNN when investigative reporter Thomas Frank wrote an article claiming the Senate Intelligence Committee was investigating Trump campaign team executive Anthony Scaramucci for ties to the Kremlin-controlled Russian Direct Investment Fund.

The entire story was a fabrication based on the claims of a single, unnamed source. Scaramucci pushed back against the story and CNN retracted the story, deleted it from its website, and replaced it with an editor’s note saying:

On June 22, 2017, published a story connecting Anthony Scaramucci with investigations into the Russian Direct Investment Fund.

That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled. CNN apologizes to Mr. Scaramucci.

In the days immediately following that retraction, Buzzfeed reported that a CNN source said the story was a “massive, massive f*** up” and that “people will be disciplined.” That “discipline” seems to have taken the form of three “resignations” at CNN: writer Thomas Frank; unit editor Eric Lichtblau; and the unit executive editor, Lex Haris. If the buck really stopped with these three, this would just be a matter of good riddance to bad journalism. Unfortunately, the cancer at CNN seems to have metastasized and infected the system from the top down.

In a statement on his resignation, Haris said, “On Friday, CNN retracted a story published by my team. As Executive Editor of that team, I have resigned.” He added, “I’ve been with CNN since 2001, and am sure about one thing: This is a news organization that prizes accuracy and fairness above all else. I am leaving, but will carry those principles wherever I go.”

Despite the claim of Haris that CNN “prizes accuracy and fairness above all else,” two new videos released by Project Veritas show that CNN values spin and profits above accuracy and fairness since CNN knew the Trump/Russia narrative that has dominated its headlines and broadcast schedule is false — or, as one producer called it, “bulls**t.” The videos also show that the infection of poor journalistic ethics runs all the way up the ladder to CEO Jeff Zucker.

The first video, released Tuesday, shows CNN Medical and Health Producer John Bonifield on hidden camera admitting that the Trump/Russia narrative is “mostly bulls**t right now” and that “we don't have any big giant proof.” Bonifield is also seen on the video saying, “The president is probably right to say, like, look, you are witch hunting me.” But the most damning portion of the video is Bonifield’s admission that the directive to “keep digging” on the narrative comes from Zucker and is driven by ratings.

The second video shows CNN political commentator Van Jones — who has done his fair share of spreading the “bulls**t” by saying that while other presidents have said “nice things about the Russians” it should not be done (as President Trump has done it) “in the face of an active attack on the country.” Not realizing he was on hidden camera, Jones can be seen telling a Project Veritas reporter, “The Russia thing is just a big nothingburger.” It is noteworthy that his remark was not restricted simply to the fallacious claim that Trump is colluding with Russia. He was asked, “What do you think is going to happen this week with the whole Russia thing?” His answer — in that broad context — was that the whole Russia thing amounts to “just a big nothingburger.”

As Kristin Stockheimer wrote Tuesday for The New American about the first video:

Why is CNN flogging this false narrative? According to Bonifield, it's about “ratings.” But of course, there are other consequences in addition to getting better ratings, very much including the effect CNN’s fake news has on the public perception of the Trump presidency and its legitimacy.

It is clear to any honest and informed observer that CNN is deliberately creating “fake news” in an attempt to boost ratings and delegitimize the Trump presidency in one fell swoop. Now it looks as though that attack is backfiring on the liberal network to the point that what will likely be necessary — if CNN is to survive — is a house cleaning from the attic to the basement. Because when the cancer of poor journalism runs this deep, the only real question is, “Can enough be cut to save the patient?” The answer to that question may well depend on what else comes out in the coming days and weeks.

Photo: AP Images

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