CNN’s War on Trump Comes to a Head

CNN’s War on Trump began months before the election last year and shows no sign of abating. The question is, will the network’s obsession with Russia help or hurt its chances of regaining its place as what many in the country once saw as the moderate alternative to FOX and MSNBC.

If the months of May or June are any indicator the better question might be if CNN President Jeff Zucker has led his network to irrelevance. President Trump gave voice to that when he tweeted last week “Fake News CNN is looking at big management changes now that they got caught falsely pushing their phony Russian stories.

The network is reeling after a tough stretch that saw two hosts taken off-air, one story rewritten and another retracted, staged protests, the forced resignations of three key employees, and a series of undercover videos that reveal CNN misleading the public about the Trump-Russia stories.

CNN’s Clarissa Ward, a foreign correspondent, is now claiming that she and other foreign correspondents have been put in the place of danger due to the president’s rebuttals. She expressed her fears to guest Chris Cillizza when she claimed that people in war zones have been “emboldened” by President Trump’s “declaration of war on the media.”

Cillizza agreed: “I think it is already dangerous what the Trump administration is doing, which is Brian’s point. They are trying to take an honest mistake, or not even a mistake, and turn it into the norm as opposed — the rule opposed to the exception, which is a very dangerous thing because that’s willfully misleading, frankly. ”

CNN’s attacks on Trump are not incidental or sporadic. Consider just the last month.

  • May 30 – CNN’s New Years Eve co-host, Kathy Griffin, took part in a photoshoot with a mock severed head of President Trump. Though later removed from next year’s event with Anderson Cooper, Griffin has since presented herself as the victim.
  • June 3 – CNN host Reza Aslan called Trump a “piece of shi**” and an “embarrassment to humankind.” His show has since been canceled.
  • June 5 – Though it first denied the allegation, CNN was forced to address claims that it “staged” a Muslim anti-ISIS protest. Video has emerged of CNN reporter Becky Anderson directing protesters where to position themselves with their signs.
  • June 6 – CNN ran a story claiming that fired FBI Director James Comey would use his testimony the next day to refute Trump’s claim that Comey had assured him three separate times that he was not under FBI investigation. That was proven false the next day when Comey’s prepared remarks were released to the public, showing that he would confirm Trump’s assertion rather than refute them. The network was forced to rewrite the piece with a correction that noted its error.

But CNN doesn’t seem to realize it has managed to paint itself into a corner with its lack of credibility. Last week CNN.com published, deleted, retracted, and then apologized for, an article that claimed Anthony Scaramucci, a Trump adviser was the subject of a Senate investigation for his ties to Russian bankers. Three key members of CNN’s investigative team resigned just days later for their role in the retracted story.

The New York Post has revealed that CNN’s latest “fake news” debacle revealed an ugly scene:

“The specter of a $100 million libel suit scared CNN into retracting a poorly reported story that slimed an ally of President Trump’s — and forcing out the staffers responsible for it, The Post has learned.”

Just last week, conservative activist James O’Keefe released hidden-camera video that showed a CNN producer, John Bonifield, saying that Trump was “probably right” that the Trump-Russia story was a “witch hunt.” Bonifield portrayed the company culture as one that treated Trump-Russia stories as a hunt for ratings rather than a pursuit of truth.

CNN stood by its producer saying, “diversity of personal opinion is what makes CNN strong.” Zucker insists that this is actually “evidence of CNN’s strong journalistic standards and that the story was an anomaly, published without the network’s usual top-notch editorial oversight.”

On a conference call with CNN officials, Zucker stressed that the network has to “play error-free ball” going forward, as all their mistakes will be magnified.

While many see Trump’s tweet war with CNN as foolish and crass, others see it as brilliant strategy on the president’s part that has increasingly have made the network irrelevant.

~ American Liberty Report


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