This is probably the understatement of the year, but CNN has credibility problems. In January, CNN reported on the existence of classified documents that said Russia had compromising personal and financial information about then President-elect Donald Trump. They did not publish the dossier, and they did not release any specific information about it.
Most news agencies took a pass because it was completely unsubstantiated and later we learned there were lots of errors in the dossier.
They fired Kathy Griffin over her mock beheading of Donald Trump. Griffin had a long-standing contract to appear with Anderson Cooper on their New Year’s Eve program. They canceled Reza Aslan’s show over profane anti-Trump tweets he made. Before former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before Congress, they published a prediction that Comey would refute Trump’s contention that Comey told him on three occasions that he wasn’t under investigation. Comey did not refute that and CNN had to offer a correction.
This week, Thomas Frank, Eric Lichtblau, and Lex Haris, three investigative journalists, resigned from CNN over a retracted story that connected Anthony Scaramucci, who was just appointed by Trump as Chief Strategy Officer of the Export-Import bank, to a $10 billion Russian investment fund. The story the network said the story did not meet with their journalistic standards.
Yesterday, James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas released a video that puts any CNN coverage of Russia into question.
In footage released by Project Veritas, John Bonifield a senior producer at CNN admits to several beliefs that are in direct conflict with the official CNN narrative that Trump has colluded with Russia, and that Russia has interfered with the 2016 election.
“I haven’t seen any good enough evidence to show that the President committed a crime,” Bonifield said discussing whether there was evidence Trump colluded with Russia to impact the 2016 election.
He also acknowledged bias against Trump in the ranks at CNN.
“I know a lot of people don’t like him and they’d like to see him get kicked out of office,” he said.
“I think the President is probably right to say, like, look you are witch hunting me…you have no real proof,” Bonifield later said.
Bonifield acknowledged that the Russia narrative was good for the Network’s ratings. He also said that CNN CEO Jeff Zucker directed the Network to pursue Russia leads at the expense of other stories.
“And the CEO of CNN said in our internal meeting, he said ‘good job everybody covering the Climate Accords, but we’re done with it let’s get back to Russia,'” he said.
Bonifield said the Russia narrative is “mostly bullshit right now. Like, we don’t have any giant proof…if it was something really good, it’d leak.”
O’Keefe has been criticized for selective editing and has his own credibility issues. Personally, I’m not a fan of his and I don’t highlight much of his stuff, but this particular video is insightful and when taken into consideration along with problems CNN has had of late I think it’s credible.
After the video was released President Trump took to Twitter:
Fake News CNN is looking at big management changes now that they got caught falsely pushing their phony Russian stories. Ratings way down!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2017
CNN was dismissive of the video.
“CNN stands by our medical producer John Bonifield,” the network said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “Diversity of personal opinion is what makes CNN strong, we welcome it and embrace it.”
The mainstream media overall has struggled with credibility and has for years. The problem has become exasperated during the Trump era. CNN needs to make a significant course correction or it will forever be the Credibility Nullified Network.