Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably already seen some of the undercover video that Project Veritas was able to record inside CNN’s Washington, DC newsroom.
While the videos are not terribly surprising to anyone on the right (we’ve known CNN is a liberal bastion of partisan groupthink for years), it is nice to see all our worst suspicions confirmed. One thing that most didn’t expect from the release of the undercover videos was the Trump 2020 campaign suing CNN for “substantial” damages.
One thing that is unusual about the CNN exposé is the tyrannical stranglehold that CNN President Jeff Zucker holds over the station’s news content. Ask anyone in a newsroom outside of CNN and they’ll tell you the same thing: The only time journalists ever hear from the president of the company is when he gives his annual sloppy, drunk speech at the Christmas party. But in the Project Veritas tapes, Jeff Zucker calls the newsroom Monday through Friday to tell CNN’s news department how he wants the news covered and what he wants to be covered.
Based Zucker’s longstanding personal feud with Donald Trump, which dates back to when Zucker was running NBC and The Apprentice was on the air, Zucker demands that the CNN newsroom attack Trump on a daily basis. Donald Trump’s policies are attacked by Zucker’s staff, Donald Trump’s allies are attacked by Zucker’s staff and Donald Trump himself is personally attacked by Zucker’s staff.
As long as CNN news anchors and commentators follow Jeff Zucker’s orders and don’t fall out of line, they are granted extremely *ahem* liberal leeway to engage in outrageous personal behavior without any fear of being fired by CNN.
Chris Cuomo flew into a furious public tirade, cursing at a Trump supporter and threatening to murder him by throwing him down the stairs after the poor man called him “Fredo.” Does Chris Cuomo still have his job at CNN? You bet he does. Cuomo is a good little lapdog who follows Jeff Zucker’s orders, so he gets to keep his job.
CNN’s Don Lemon is accused of sexually assaulting a male employee at a gay bar over the summer. The alleged victim, who has produced a credible eyewitness who saw the bizarre attack, has filed a lawsuit against Lemon over the attack. Any reporter at any other news outlet than CNN who was accused of such a strange and vile act would – at a minimum – be taken off the air until the lawsuit is resolved, if not outright fired. But Don Lemon is still on the air at CNN.
Like Chris Cuomo, and like virtually everyone at CNN, Don Lemon is a good doggie. He gets to keep his job, because he follows Jeffrey Zucker’s meticulous instructions to viciously and falsely smear Donald Trump every single day.
If you think that’s not slightly hypocritical on CNN’s part, consider what happened to a pro-Trump commentator on CNN’s staff back in 2016. Jeffrey Lord was a delightfully pro-Trump, pro-MAGA voice on CNN. But he got fired. Wow! What did Jeffrey Lord do? Did he threaten to murder a Trump supporter by pushing him down the stairs? Was Jeffrey Lord credibly accused of attempting to sodomize an employee at a gay bar? No. Jeffrey Lord issued a single tweet on his personal Twitter account, which Jeff Zucker used as an excuse to immediately fire him.
Unfortunately, while it is exciting to see the Trump campaign suing CNN for damages, it doesn’t look like the lawsuit stands much of a chance of prevailing. The campaign is suing on the grounds that CNN has violated most, if not all, of the tenets of the Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) Code of Ethics. While this is a logical way to build a case against CNN, I don’t think there’s any chance that the strategy has any chance of succeeding.
Newsrooms in America, including CNN, don’t require news staffers to sign the SPJ Code of Ethics. Most don’t even require reporters to read it. The SPJ Code of Ethics is sort of like the United Nations. It exists, but it never accomplishes anything, and no one pays attention to it. It will be difficult for the Trump campaign to prove to the court that CNN owes it damages over a Code of Ethics that CNN never agreed to follow in the first place. But like everything else involved with the Trump presidency, it will still be an entertaining lawsuit to watch.