(ANTIMEDIA Op-Ed) — Slowly but surely, the Russia/Trump conspiracy that major U.S. media outlets have been pushing is proving to be a carefully constructed web of deception. For months, outlets have been alleging links between Moscow and Trump’s team based mostly on accusations from anonymous sources with no evidence, and for months, these stories have been falling apart.
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The Washington Post reported that Russian hackers penetrated a U.S. grid through a utility in Vermont. That was false. The Post also jumped to publish a report issued by Crowdstrike — a firm hired to investigate the hacking of the DNC servers — which claimed to have proof that Russia’s intelligence arm was tied to both the DNC hacks and interference in the 2016 election. The firm later “revised and retracted statements it used to buttress claims of Russian hacking during last year’s American presidential election campaign.” C-SPAN claimed to have been hacked by Russian news site RT only to later admit they couldn’t actually identify the cause of the interruption. The Guardian published a story claiming Wikileaks founder Julian Assange had a “close relationship with the Putin regime,” which it later amended after it was proven false.
There are many more examples of reckless reporting by the mainstream media, but one outlet, in particular, seems to stand out above the rest. CNN was forced to issue a correction on a story it ran earlier this month claiming James Comey would dispute Donald’s Trump’s claims that the former FBI Director told the president he was not under investigation on several occasions. Just last Friday, CNN issued a retraction and an apology for a story linking Anthony Scaramucci, an ally of Donald Trump, to a Russian investment fund under congressional investigation. The allegations were based, again, on information from an anonymous source. Monday evening, CNN announced the resignations of journalists Thomas Frank, Eric Lichtblau, and Lex Haris, saying that “standard editorial processes were not followed when the article was published.”
To make matters even worse, a video was posted early this morning by Project Veritas in which a man identified as Supervising Producer for CNN Health, John Bonifield, is heard discussing CNN’s coverage of the Russia investigation, at one point calling it “bullshit”:
“Could be bullshit. I mean, it’s mostly bullshit right now. Like, we don’t have any giant proof. Then they say, well there’s still an investigation going on. And you’re like, ‘Yeah, I don’t know. If they were finding something we would know about it. The way these leaks happen, they would leak it. They’d leak. If it was something really good, it would leak….’ The leaks keep leaking and there are so many great leaks, and it’s amazing. I just refuse to believe that if they had something really good like that [they] wouldn’t leak because we’ve been getting all these other leaks. So, I just feel like they don’t really have it but they want to keep digging. And so I think the president is probably right to say, like, ‘Look you are witch hunting me. You have no smoking gun. You have no real proof.’”
The man purported to be Bonifield also explains the stark contrast between the company’s coverage of the Trump administration as opposed to its handling of the Obama administration. “I think there are a lot of like liberal CNN viewers who want to see Trump really get scrutinized, and I think if we would have behaved that way with President Obama and scrutinized everything that he was doing with as much scrutiny as we apply to Donald Trump, I think our viewers would have been turned off,” the CNN producer says. “I think they would have felt like we were attacking him. And I’m not saying all of our viewers are super liberals, I think there’s just a lot of them.
Asked why CNN continues to push the Russia narrative, Bonifield replies, simply, “Because it’s ratings…Our ratings are incredible right now.” He goes on to confide in Project Veritas’ journalist that the directive to keep pushing the Russia/Trump conspiracy comes directly from CNN’s CEO Jeff Zucker.
“My boss, I shouldn’t say this, my boss yesterday we were having a discussion about this dental shoot and he goes …he was just like, I want you to know what we are up against here,” Bonifield says. “And he goes, just to give you some context, President Trump pulled out of the climate accords and for a day and a half we covered the climate accords. 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…So, even the climate accords, he was like, ‘A day or so it’s okay but we’re moving back to Russia,” said the CNN producer.
According to Bonifield, ethical journalism is nothing more than a fairy tale. “It’s a business. People are like the media has an ethical [sic] … But, all the nice cutesy little ethics that used to get talked about in journalism school, you’re just like, that’s adorable. That’s adorable. This is a business. Especially cable news. Cable news isn’t the New York Times, and it’s not even like NBC News. I mean NBC News still gets 20 million viewers a night. Cable news is getting a million. So, they got to do what they got to do to make their money.”
“Trump is good for business right now,” he added.
The video is the first in an investigative series Project Veritas calls American Pravda, aimed at exposing “the real motivations behind the decision-making process at our dominant media corporations.” The president has seen the video and responded via Twitter.