CNN’s Bad Week: Mainstream Media Continues to Lose Credibility

jeff zucker

CNN has in recent times been accused of spreading “fake news.” Now it appears as though the networks impropriety can be confirmed beyond a doubt. The start of the last week of June 2017 has been forgettable for CNN, to say the least. Retractions, resignations, reformatting efforts, and specific illuminations regarding ethical standards have plagued them with negative headlines – signalling the end of the Trump/Russia conspiracy narrative which dominated much of CNN’s coverage since inauguration day.

The first event took place on Monday when CNN retracted a major story regarding Donald Trump and the Russia conspiracy. The story was initially posted on Thursday, with links being disabled on Friday night; and outright retracted on Monday. The story outlined a supposed meeting Trump had with Russian officials – highlighting an alleged Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into the matter. The article provided no evidence for the claims it was making – hence why it was retracted.

This is not the first time in which CNN has put out scurrilous stories regarding the subject of Russia and Donald Trump. Often, articles consistently sourced from the Washington Post or New York Times have made similar claims – sighting alleged sources anonymously without any tangible link to a credible origin.

Also on Monday, it was announced that the executives at CNN were enacting new restrictions on how it covers alleged Russian ties to Donald Trump. An internal email sent out by the top brass instructed the entire news apparatus to: “not publish any content involving Russia” without consulting top higher-ups. This request applied to all aspects of the network, including social media and editorials.

The latest story must have spurred a tipping point for the networks publishers, producers and executives. The actions are a direct response to the lacking trust and support CNN has received because of the questionable politically driven claims regarding Russia and it connection to the Trump campaign.

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The menacing blow to CNN came on Tuesday. The alternative media organization, Project Veritas (headed by the controversial James O’Keefe), released damning hidden camera footage of CNN supervising producer John Bonifield. Bonifield unequivocally admitted that the entire Russia collusion narrative was almost entirely fabricated in order to boost ratings. The video is genuine, without any signs of being redacted. This new revelations provide smoking gun evidence of media obfuscations and outright lies in pushing the Trump/Russia conspiracy. Bonifield pointed to CNN CEO Jeff Zucker as being directly responsible for forwarding the Russia story above all other news items. He even admitted that he thought Trump was right in claiming that he was the product of a witch-hunt; and also scoffed at the notion of media accountability and a responsibly to portray facts accurately.

This glaring admittance by Bonifield is indicative of the current state of the mainstream media. The media has clearly abandoned all integrity, and instead have chosen to run with rating boosting narratives which feedback into viewers previously held confirmations biases regarding particular subjects. Both left-wing and right-wing networks have been guilty of this.

In regards to the Trump/Russia collusion conspiracy, many liberal viewers of the network probably really wanted there to be a tangible connection between Trump and the Russians. This confirmation would give credence to the idea that his presidency is illegitimate. To fill this emotional need, CNN and other networks and news agencies ran with the story in order to tap into a consumption base of people with anti-Trump sentiments.

Giving viewers what they want to hear is not new in the realm of news and entertainment news. However, the pushing of the Russia/Trump narrative is not benign and has held serious ramifications. To suggest that a president’s rise to power is the result of a foreign entity, without any evidence, for the sake of viewership is unethical and irresponsible to the point that it can be deemed a borderline act of sedition.

Additionally, the idea of CNN simply meeting the demand for people’s desire to view Trump as illegitimate is questionable. The demand for this narrative was catalyzed by the creation of a supply of Trump/Russia chicanery and misinformation – likely originating in deep state and political interests determined to delegitimize Trump and his agenda at all costs. Putting this information out there and continuing to forward it is highly irresponsible, and likens to an act treason against a democratically elected president. It begs one to wonder what precedent this sets for the establishment and the media to engage in politically fueled misinformation campaigns in the future.

This episode likely means that the Russia narrative is over, and the media will actually begin focusing on the administration’s policies. Nevertheless, the entire Trump/Russia narrative is merely one aspect of the medias descent into unethical procedures and politically motivated biases. People who continue to consume these mediums should be reminded of the lead up to the Iraq War, and the lack of investigative reporting that went into questioning the Bush administration’s push for conflict with a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11. Now with the prominence of the internet, it is far easier to expose false narratives and present rebuttals to the uniform echo chambered mouthpieces of the mainstream media. With this is mind, perhaps the media will begin to change itself and partake in real journalism; and no longer engage in highly salacious and dangerous politically motivated talking points.

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