CNN Slammed by CNN Staffers: Jeff Zucker as Captain Ahab
Jeffrey Lord
by
Jeff Zucker (YouTube screenshot)

Wow.

In a stunning story that James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas is now releasing this week, a series of CNN president Jeff Zucker’s morning staff meetings were secretly recorded — by a CNN staffer (who, for sure, has quickly been fired.)

The findings, as here, were released just as CNN prepared to co-host Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate with the New York Times. (The Times, recall, has had one of its own internal staff get-togethers secretly recorded and released.)

The headline:

PART 1: CNN Insider Blows Whistle on Network President Jeff Zucker’s Personal Vendetta Against POTUS

CNN’s Cary Poarch, who is identified as a contract satellite uplink technician at CNN’s Washington bureau, secretly recorded Zucker and others at CNN at the morning meetings. Other CNN staffers were captured on video discussing Jeff Zucker’s Trump obsession. Zucker can be allegedly heard on the audio tapes saying this, among other things:

I don’t care about the MSNBC event, OK? I don’t care about them. Let’s just stay very focused on impeachment. We shouldn’t just pretend, oh, this is going one way. And so all of these moves are toward impeachment.

After all these months and months of pushing the Trump–Russia conspiracy theory that has now crashed and burned, not to mention the Stormy Daniels business, Democrats are now all about Ukraine. And Jeff Zucker is exactly right — everything that has been done since the president took office is designed with one goal in mind: impeachment.

What is driving the news here is that Jeff Zucker is not some Democratic strategist advising Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff. He’s the president of CNN, and as these tapes illustrate, when he says “do it this way,” CNN staffers hop to to follow the boss’s instructions. As a former CNN-er myself who was fired by Jeff Zucker for writing a column in this space (titled Fascist Media Matters Moves to Silence Hannity”) that condemned the far-left Media Matters for its anti-free press moves to shut down Sean Hannity’s free speech — and yes, tweeting out ridicule from the column of the head of Media Matters for his and his site’s on-the-record, repeated, and flagrant anti-Semitism — I must say it seems that Jeff has pushed the network to be infinitely further to the left than when I was there. In my time at CNN I sat in on innumerable staff meetings and never heard this kind of anti-Trump coaching. Having been early on the Trump train, I was always allowed my point of view. Today the network has been through one Trump supporter after another, doubtless because this anti-Trump sentiment now flows directly from Jeff Zucker himself.

To be clear, as I said on Sean Hannity’s TV show the other night, Jeff Zucker was always nice to me while I was there. I bear him absolutely no ill will and wish him well. Yet all of this vendetta stuff with his Trump obsession reminds of a 21st-century media mogul as Captain Ahab, the fictional sea captain obsessed with Moby Dick, the great white whale.

Here is whistleblower Poarch on the subject:

It’s an unwritten rule that if you are a center, center-right, or, heaven forbid, full right Republican Trump supporter, then you are not welcome at CNN.

I was indeed welcomed at CNN for a long time. But somewhere along the line as the anti-Trump animus set in, Jeff Zucker himself told me that he was protecting me. I appreciated it and even told him that I understood I was expendable in the larger scheme of things.

But I had to wonder. Why all the fuss over my presence? As I note in my book, Swamp Wars:

While I appreciated that (Zucker’s protection) I quietly wondered why in fact a legitimate, mainstream Reagan-conservative commentator with an extensive background in government and columns in all manner of seriously reputable journalistic outlets needed “protection” by a network president in the first place. What in the world, I wondered, was so controversial about beliefs based on the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and my heroes or bosses in my political life — John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Lincoln, Reagan, and Jack Kemp? Answer: a lot. Because I stood up for Trump and challenged Old Order gospel.

The results of all this Captain Ahab-style anti-Trump animosity from Jeff have been catastrophic for the network’s ratings. Story after story out there from just this year alone have headlines like these:

CNN Ratings Continue To Plummet To All-Year Low  — Daily Caller, April 16, 2019.

CNN Loses Nearly 50% of Primetime Audience, MSNBC Down Nearly 30% — Breitbart, April 17, 2019.

CNN’s ratings drop coincides with release of Mueller report New York Post, May 1, 2019.

CNN’s ratings drop again after three-year low last month Washington Examiner, June 4, 2019.

The CNN Ratings Disaster Would Be Worse Without Its Manufactured AudienceAlthough it draws attention for being an anti-Trump news outlet, the network is working to deflect attention away from its severe audience flight. — The Federalist, June 24, 2019.

Just How Badly Is CNN Collapsing? Look At These Stunning Numbers  — Daily Wire, July 3, 2017.

CNN, MSNBC hit hard in ratings freefallBPR Business & Politics, September 12, 2019.

It is simply astonishing to see CNN keep going in this direction when, in fact, there is a simple solution to the problem: drop the far-left politics when it comes to reporting the hard news. But quite clearly at Jeff Zucker’s explicit direction this will not happen.

There are in fact a lot of good people — and good journalists — at CNN. And they are needlessly besmirched by all of this. They deserve better.

Jeff Zucker can’t abide Fox News. He said this:

I think what’s going on in America now is really fundamentally the result of years of fake news, conspiracy nonsense from Fox News that has taken root in this country.… The fake conspiracy nonsense that Fox has spread for years is now deeply embedded in American society and at the highest levels of the Republican elected officials as we’ve seen… and frankly that is beyond destructive for America.

Hello? “Conspiracy nonsense from Fox News”? It is in fact Fox News, notably Sean Hannity and his ensemble cast of investigative reporters who have relentlessly doing the digging to get to the facts. Has Jeff not read the texts between ex-FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page? How about the IG report that resulted in the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe? In which then-House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, (R-Va.) said,

According to the inspector general report, Mr. McCabe repeatedly lied under oath about the disclosure of information to a reporter. In doing so, he not only violated FBI policy, but he may have committed a federal crime.

The only “conspiracy nonsense” out there has been CNN’s relentless pursuit of Trump–Russia “collusion” — one of the wackiest theories worthy of the grassy knoll theory from all those JFK assassination theories.

In short, Trump Derangement Syndrome has made of its victims in the Leftist State Media so many Captain Ahabs — obsessed with their own Moby Dick: the president of the United States.

And recall: Captain Ahab’s obsession, which had him “possessed by all the fallen angels,” was finally swept out to sea.

Jeffrey Lord
Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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