CNN boss Jeff Zucker is usually the one deciding what becomes news, now he’s getting a taste of what it’s like to be in the news. Leaked audio tapes from Project Veritas journalist James O’Keefe shed light on the networks bias and coordinated hostility towards President Trump.
O’Keefe revealed early Tuesday morning this his organization had been secretly recording CNN’s 9 a.m. morning news calls over the span of two months. Many of those calls will likely involve Zucker, and in the initial release of recordings it is Zucker who sounds off on the networks coverage of President Trump.
During an Oct. 9 call, Zucker urged his staff to not “normalize” the president’s erratic behavior as he was recovering from the coronavirus. As Zucker said, “OK, I just want to re-emphasize that, you know, I think we cannot normalize what has happened here in the last week with Trump and his behavior, and I go back to what [CNN political director] David Chalian said, that this is a president who knows he’s losing, who knows he’s in trouble, is sick, maybe is on the after-effects of steroids or not. I don’t know, but he is acting erratically and desperately, and we need to, we need to not normalize that. … He is all over the place and acting erratically. And I think we need to lean into that.”
In an Oct. 16 call, Zucker seemed to just dismiss the Hunter-Biden email and computer hard drive scandal saying, “The Trump media, you know, moves immediately from—OK, well, never mind—the unmasking was, you know, found to be completely nonsensical to the latest alleged scandal and expects everybody to just follow suit,” Zucker told his staff. “So, I don’t think that we should be repeating unsubstantiated smears just because the rightwing media suggests that we should.”
It can certainly be alleged from Zucker’s comments to his staff that he had no interest in anyone digging further into the Hunter-Biden story and the released phone calls confirm many people’s suspicions of how the network boss drives its news.
O’Keefe appeared on “Hannity” on Fox News Tuesday night and called out CNN’s agenda-driven news saying, “I run an organization with a few dozen reporters. They come to me with facts. They’re not yessing me. In fact, they’re challenging me. And what Jeff Zucker is doing on these phone calls is telling people what the story is, telling them what not to cover. This is propaganda! … We’ve never actually seen it—fly on the wall, you can actually hear the president of the company instruct his vice president, instruct his reporters what the narrative ought to be. This is the farthest thing from journalism that I know. And I think that CNN owes an apology to the people. I mean, this is disgraceful,” O’Keefe told Hannity.
O’Keefe credited a “brave whistleblower insider” with help coordinating the calls and said that there will be more tapes released every day in the weeks ahead.