On Tuesday, The New York Times published an article titled “After Mueller Report, News Media Leaders Defend Their Work.” In it, Amy Chozick takes a hard look at the mainstream media and its attempt to regain composure following the realization that their years-long investment in claims of Russian collusion by President Donald Trump and his team have come due without a payoff.
With the release of Attorney General William Barr’s memo summarizing Robert Mueller’s findings during a 22-month investigation into whether Trump was a Russian asset, we are finding that most anti-Trump talking heads have chosen to pivot away from the responsibility they hold in peddling their baseless claims. Jeff Zucker, president of CNN, a leader in pushing the Russiagate conspiracy, said he was “entirely comfortable” with their coverage and offered a defense.
“We are not investigators,” Zucker reportedly said in an email to The New York Times. “We are journalists, and our role is to report the facts as we know them, which is exactly what we did.”
This bold, irresponsible claim caused the Twittersphere to erupt.
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) March 26, 2019
An incredibly brief investigation into CNN’s history of investigations produces a slew of evidence contradicting Zucker’s claim.
Let’s investigate. pic.twitter.com/yVGDUyikBr
— Kate Hyde (@KateHydeNY) March 26, 2019
In fact, it was CNN’s own “leading investigation team,” KFILE, that launched an in-depth probe with the aim of uncovering the true identity of an anonymous Reddit user. This pesky user had the nerve to create a video depicting Trump wrestling a man whose face is covered by the CNN logo, a video later tweeted by the president.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 2, 2017
The need to investigate the creator of this video was arguably unnecessary to begin with, but what really got CNN in hot water was their subsequent attempt at blackmailing this person, known only as “HanAssholeSolo,” by threatening to release his identity to the public unless he or she apologized. Thanks to what CNN claimed as an expression of remorse (but what the layman might label as “scared out of his mind”) the perp is still only known to the public by this charming moniker.
Exclusive: CNN tracked down the Reddit user behind the Trump wrestling GIF. Now he's apologizing. https://t.co/HMEKfD1De3
— CNN (@CNN) July 5, 2017
CNN did, however, make sure to publish a disclaimer that the company “reserves the right to publish his identity.” So, if at any time in the future, this internet villain dares to lob another meme in the direction of this particular media monster, he does so with the looming threat of national exposure.
So, the question remains: Why does CNN’s Zucker claim that the organization and its wide array of journalists are not investigators while simultaneously touting themselves as investigators? The answer is quite simple: Convenient bias. Colossal convenient bias.
CNN is guilty of the very act they repeatedly accuse right-wing outlets of doing: peddling unsubstantiated conspiracy theories to push an agenda. Despite their constant plea to be taken seriously, they cannot keep themselves from engaging in the same irresponsible behavior. Here are just a few examples.
“Hands up, don’t shoot.” A rallying cry that perpetuated civil unrest in Ferguson based purely on speculation.
The Covington kids. Jumping right in with the rage mob in assuming a group of Trump-supporting high school kids were the instigators during a confrontation with Native Americans during a protest at the Lincoln Memorial, despite an onslaught of subsequent footage proving otherwise.
Jussie Smollett. Taking an actor (now proven hoaxer) at his word when he claimed to fall victim to a hate crime because the alleged pro-Trump attackers fit the description of the greater enemy.
And now, Russiagate. It all follows the same template.
It’s clear that CNN did not perform due diligence in investigating during these scenarios. With the lack of curiosity in asking questions, it’s also clear why many people are asking if it even qualifies as journalism.
CNN’s employees are willing to put on their Inspector Gadget garb and dig deep only if it advances their politicized objectives. When it looks good for their side on the surface, don’t dig deeper. If it looks bad for their side, bring out the backhoe.
Joe Scarborough made a correlation on MSNBC’s “The Morning Joe” that deserves recognition. Scarborough criticized the media and journalists on the right who pushed the conspiracies surrounding the murder of Seth Rich for having the audacity to slam those who got caught up in the questions surrounding Russiagate.
This is one of the few times Scarborough is well deserving of Mika’s glossy-eyed, adoring headnod. He’s right. It is exhausting to hear the battle cries of redemption coming from people and organizations that have no issue pushing unsubstantiated theories to attempt knocking down the other side.
So is CNN a reliable source to help us distinguish the apples from the bananas, or are they guilty of some sleight of hand at the fruit stand?
— CNN (@CNN) October 23, 2017
It’s time for CNN and its leadership to acknowledge that they, along with the others they criticize, often lack the necessary research needed for accurate reporting, and that they are simply “labeling bananas as apples” due to a misguided perception of necessity.
Whatever is driving their biased reporting, we all can agree that the basic premise of CNN’s apple metaphor is entirely bananas. It doesn’t take much investigating by the armchair detectives of America to reveal that all CNN has going for them is their limitless capacity for cherry-picking.