Politics

OP-ED: Will CNN Investigate CNN?

posted by Jeffrey Lord - 3.27.19

By Jeffrey Lord

So.

CNN President Jeff Zucker says this about CNN’s mysterious inability to get to the real truth of the bogus Trump-Russia collusion story, as reported by Mediaite: https://www.mediaite.com/online/cnn-president-jeff-zucker-defends-networks-coverage-of-mueller-probe-we-are-not-investigators/

CNN President Jeff Zucker Defends Network’s Coverage of Mueller Probe: ‘We Are Not Investigators’

The article reports this:

“Defending the network’s extensive coverage of the investigation, CNN President Jeff Zucker told The New York Times his employees are not investigators and he was “entirely comfortable” with their reporting.

‘We are not investigators. We are journalists, and our role is to report the facts as we know them, which is exactly what we did,’ Zucker said.”

Full stop.

The president of CNN says “We are not investigators.” Really?

Then how in the world does CNN explain this CNN web site headed – wait for it – “CNN Investigates”?https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-investigates

Yes indeed. The network that couldn’t find it in their ability to investigate bogus targets of “Trump-Russia collusion” has had an entire web site trumpeting the network’s ability to investigate.

Let’s take a tour through “CNN Investigates.”

It says among other things, this:

“Seek truth. Break news. Hold the powerful accountable.”

Well…cool.

There are all kinds of “CNN Investigates” stories listed here. The topics range from investigations into guns, Uber, sex crimes by a charity leader, the “secret calendar” of an EPA administrator and the actual body count of deaths after the hurricane in Puerto Rico. A number of stories report on action being taken by this or that agency as a result of a CNN investigation.

So did CNN seek the truth in all this “Trump-Russia collusion” business? A guest I once met in the CNN Green Room in New York was a journalist from The Hill named Amie Parnes. Along with fellow journalist Jonathan Allen, Parnes had written a book on the Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign titled Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign. Among other things, the book reported this of the Clinton campaign leadership after they realized they had just lost to Donald Trump:

“Their strategy had been set within twenty-four hours of her concession speech. (Campaign manager Robby) Mook and (campaign chairman John) Podesta assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up and up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.”

So in all the time since that appearance, as one CNN report after another dealt with a new “bombshell” that Donald Trump had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election? Where was the thorough, in depth, CNN investigation into that information from the Parnes and Allen book? Information that stated flatly the entire Trump-Russian collusion business began with the defeated Clinton team conjuring a “script” that they would “pitch to the press and the public”? Information that was in a prominent book whose author was in fact on air as a CNN guest to discuss.

“CNN Investigates”- suddenly – did not investigate.

CNN was far from alone. In fact, MSNBC and The New York Times and The Washington Post had the same startling lack of curiosity about the entire Trump-Russia collusion story.

Worse, was this. Here is this headline from Fox News the other day:

Dershowitz says CNN ‘banned’ him for not conforming to ‘one-sided presentation’ of Mueller report

Alan Dershowitz, the famed Harvard Law professor emeritus, had appeared on Martha McCallum’s The Story and said:

“CNN banned me from their air because I was being too fair. I was trying to assess what the essential issue was, and I wasn’t being partisan. They didn’t want that. They didn’t want that.”

Then there was this from the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, telling Tucker Carlson about being banned from MSNBC: https://www.mediaite.com/tv/glenn-greenwald-rips-msnbc-to-tucker-carlson-they-fed-people-total-disinformation-and-exploited-fears-on-russia/

“There was a whole slew, not just me, of left-wing journalists with very high journalistic credentials, far more than anyone on that network, like Matt Taibbi and Jeremy Scahill and many others, including myself, who were banned from the network because they wanted their audience not to know that anybody was questioning or expressing skepticism about the lies and the scam that they were selling because it was so profitable,” he continued.

Got that? Alan Dershowitz was banned from CNN, and Greenwald, Taibbi and Scahill were banned from MSNBC – all for the same reason.
They didn’t buy the Trump-Russia collusion delusion. And since this was not what CNN or MSNBC wanted to hear – much less investigate – they were banned from the network.

There was no “journalism” involved here. There was no attempt to get to the bottom of an allegation that on the face of it made no sense. Voters in supposedly “blue” states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin did not vote for Donald Trump because the Russians told them to do it.There were no Russians manipulating voting machines in the thousands of precincts that voted for Trump.

As now detailed by the Mueller report, after an investigation involving what Attorney General Barr’s report described as 19 lawyers, 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, professional staff, 2800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants, 230 orders for communications records, 13 requests to foreign governments and interviewing 500 witnesses – there was no finding by the Mueller investigators of Trump-Russia collusion. It was a fiction. Or, as described in Shattered, it was “a script” that the Clinton campaign officials “would pitch to the press and the public.”

There are humorous renderings of this media obsession with the fevered imaginings of Trump-Russia collusion out there on You Tube, as here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjvRJLUWwFs&t=70s and here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLEchPZm318&t=26s There are some of the most prominent people in the world of journalism endlessly insisting that “the walls are closing in” on Trump or that there is another breaking news Trump-Russia “bombshell” or that “the beginning of the end” is at hand and a Trump resignation is looming. Humorous, yes. But also a deadly serious illustration of just how obsessed serious people were in spreading serious disinformation to their American and in some cases global audiences. It was the group think of the herd on parade. And it is exactly the same kind of herd thinking that led the same people to believe Hillary Clinton was going to win the 2016 election in a landslide.

Here is a sample of people, not all of them Trump supporters or conservatives, who have grasped the damage all of this is doing to outlets like CNN and the rest:

Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone headlines this from his new book Hate Inc. https://taibbi.substack.com/p/russiagate-is-wmd-times-a-million

It’s official: Russiagate is this generation’s WMD

Writes Taibbi:

“Nobody wants to hear this, but news that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is headed home without issuing new charges is a death-blow for the reputation of the American news media….Nothing Trump is accused of from now on by the press will be believed by huge chunks of the population…”

David Brooks of The New York Times managed this:

“And what about the rest of us? What about all the hours we spent speculating about the Mueller report, fantasizing about the Trump ruin or watching and reading speculation about these things? What about the superstructure of scandal politics we have built and live in today?

The sad fact is that Watergate introduced a poison into the American body politic. Richard Nixon’s downfall was just and important, but it opened up the mouthwatering possibility that you don’t need to do the hard work of persuading people to join your side. Instead, you can destroy your foes all at once through scandal.

The nation’s underlying divides are still ideological, but we rarely fight them honestly as philosophical differences. We just accuse the other side of corruption. Politics is no longer a debate; it’s an attempt to destroy lives through accusation.”

The Federalist’s Sean Davis noted this in The Wall Street Journal https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-catastrophic-media-failure-11553555444?mod=trending_now_1

“Robert Mueller’s investigation is over, but questions still abound. Not about collusion, Russian interference or obstruction of justice, but about the leading lights of journalism who managed to get the story so wrong, and for so long.

It wasn’t merely an error here or there. America’s blue-chip journalists botched the entire story, from its birth during the presidential campaign to its final breath Sunday—and they never stopped congratulating themselves for it. Last year the New York Times and Washington Post shared a Pulitzer Prize “for deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the President-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.” A 2017 Time magazine cover depicted the White House getting a “makeover” to transform it into the Kremlin.

….No unverified rumor was too salacious and no anonymous tip was too outlandish to print. From CNN to the Times and the Post, from esteemed and experienced reporters to opinion writers and bloggers, everyone wanted a share of the Trump-treason beat.

…Mr. Trump didn’t collude with Russia, but he did defeat Mrs. Clinton. From their behavior it is evident that many in the media view that as sufficient to establish his guilt. For them, the Trump-Russia investigation was never about protecting democracy or securing elections—never mind telling the truth, which is supposed to be their job.”

Over at The Daily Caller, reporter Amber Athey assembled an entire listhttps://dailycaller.com/2019/03/25/media-russia-collusion-mueller-report-fake-news/ of phony “bombshells” on Trump-Russia collusion that in fact would prove to be exactly “fake news” – reported not just by CNN but outlets like NBC, ABC, Bloomberg, the Post and the Times.

Or, simply put, what Americans have witnessed over the last two years is what Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett described to Sean Hannity this week: “Media malpractice.”

Now. Recall this statement from a few weeks back?

“The fact is they work at a place that has done tremendous damage to this country.”

The speaker was CNN president Jeff Zucker, and the “they” he was discussing were Fox News journalists. And this week? This week, as is everywhere in evidence, it is CNN – and MSNBC, The New York Times,The Washington Post and all manner of other left-leaning journalistic outlets – who now stand revealed as, in fact, having done serious damage.

To themselves.

Time for a little self-reflection? Or a CNN investigation of – CNN?

Don’t count on it.

Pick up Jeffrey Lord’s Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and the New American Populism. Out on May 28th. Click here.