The Other McCain

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The Worst Week in Media History: O’Keefe Exposes Bias of CNN’s Zucker

Posted on | October 15, 2019 | Comments Off on The Worst Week in Media History: O’Keefe Exposes Bias of CNN’s Zucker


First, there was Ronan Farrow’s exposé of widespread sexual harassment (and official tolerance thereof) at NBC News. Now, James O’Keefe has got undercover video confirming blatant bias at CNN:

CNN President Jeff Zucker has insisted the cable news network has to maximally focus on pushing the story of Democrats trying to impeach President Donald Trump, despite objections by staffers that the push is harming the organization’s journalistic integrity, according to undercover recordings.
“Impeachment is the story,” Zucker said during a recent 9 a.m. rundown call, according to one of the recordings, which were released on Oct. 14 by investigative journalism nonprofit Project Veritas. “You know, I know we’re going to feel a tendency to think we’re doing too much, but this is the story.”
At least some of the recordings were provided by Cary Poarch, a satellite uplink technician who works as a contractor at CNN’s Washington bureau.
“I just want them to own where they’re at,” he said of CNN. “Like, hey, if we lean left, cool, let’s just say we lean left, if we lean right, let it be known.” . . .
Several CNN employees told Poarch or other undercover reporters about their dissatisfaction with Zucker’s approach.
“There’s just nothing we can do if Zucker wants impeachment every single day to be the top story,” said Christian Sierra, media coordinator at CNN, in one of the recordings.
Sierra said he “hate[ed] how everything is like all Trump all the time now.
“Everyone at the network complains about it,” he said. “They hate covering Trump every day.”
Mike Brevna, CNN floor manager, expressed a similar sentiment in another recording.
“It’s the Trump Network, dog. It’s like, it’s everything is all Trump. They not even thinking about, they not even thinking about anybody else,” he said. “They sold themselves to the devil. It’s, it’s sad. Because there’s so much news going on out there, but they don’t cover none of it. All they do is, because of sponsors and everything.” . . .
Zucker seems to have a particular disdain for Fox News, a major competitor that is outperforming CNN in viewership ratings by more than two to one.
“I think what’s going on in America now is really, fundamentally the result of years of fake news, conspiracy nonsense from Fox News that has taken root in this country,” Zucker said during a 9 a.m. rundown call. “And I’m dead serious about this.”
It didn’t seem to be just a personal observation either.
“Fake conspiracy nonsense that Fox has spread for years is now deeply embedded in American society and at the highest levels of the Republican elected officials, as we’ve seen with [Sen.] Ron Johnson,” Zucker said. “Frankly, that is beyond destructive for America and I do not think we should be scared to say so.”
In what appeared to be another rundown call, Zucker noted that “a lot of people at CNN” were “friendly” with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
“Time to knock that off,” Zucker said. “And it’s time to call him out.”

Question: When did that happen? My hunch is that it was during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, when Graham became enraged by the obviously phony accusations of sexual misconduct Democrats used to smear the nominee. As long as Graham was perceived as a potential anti-Trump ally within the GOP, it was OK for CNN staff to be “friendly” to the South Carolina senator; but once the Kavanaugh hearings pushed Graham into the pro-Trump camp, Zucker said “knock that off.”

Almost nobody is watching CNN, as Jim Treacher notes:

If you don’t watch CNN, you’re in good company. It’s consistently the third-rated news network. Last week’s big event on CNN, that LGBTQ town hall, was watched by 1.1 million people. That’s compared to 2.5 million watching MSNBC and 3.7 million watching Fox News. Most Americans don’t get their news from cable TV, and most cable-TV news consumers avoid CNN. . . .
The network’s relentless anti-Trump drumbeat has driven people away. . . . CNN is pure propaganda for the Democratic Party, and most people aren’t interested in that.

This probably explains Zucker’s obsession with Fox News, as well as his idea that CNN’s job is to promote the impeachment of Trump. If you’re the third-place network, and the first-place network attracts mostly conservative viewers, there is a certain market logic in trying to maximize your share of the liberal audience. But that strategy was complicated for CNN by the fact that second-place MSNBC has built its “brand” around being a left-wing propaganda operation. Zucker was thus trying to compete with MSNBC for the kook-fringe Democratic Party base, and climbing aboard the impeachment bus — indeed, climbing into the driver’s seat of that bus — might have seemed to Zucker like a smart strategy. And he has failed, spectacularly so.

What next? Expect that CNN will claim to be a victim of anti-Semitism. It’s all they’ve got left: “Fox New conspiracy nonsense!”




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