A supervising producer for CNN's health unit was caught on hidden camera by Project Veritas claiming the Russian/Donald Trump stories running on the network are "bullsh-t" and designed for ratings.
CNN has focused months of content on rumors of Russian interference in America's elections, Russian hacking of email servers and voting machines, and Donald Trump's ties to Russia. On Monday night, Don Lemon claimed how the investigation mirrors Watergate by the day. Also on Monday, three CNN reporters were fired after the network was forced to retract an article that claimed additional suspected ties between Russia and President Trump.
In the hidden video, CNN producer John Bonifield claimed his employer did not have proof of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. He said CNN is having its best ratings because of the Russian-oriented stories about Trump.
Bonifield admitted that CNN CEO Jeff Zucker redirected seven days of CNN's coverage of Trump's exit from the Paris Climate Accords, back to focusing on suspected Russian collusion with Trump despite knowing there is no evidence.
Bonifield believed the cable news network betrays journalistic ethics in favor of ratings. He claimed cable news must compete aggressively unlike news outlets such as The New York Times or NBC News that he said still has 20 million viewers per night. Cable news has only a million viewers per night, he said "so they gotta do what they gotta do to make their money."
"I think the President is right to say: 'you are witch hunting me. You have no smoking gun. You have no proof.'," he said.
President Trump has taken to Twitter to criticize CNN. He tweeted on Tuesday: "So they caught Fake News CNN cold, but what about NBC, CBS and ABC? What about the failing New York Times and Washington Post? They are all Fake News/?" Hazarding a prediction, Trump wrote: "Fake News CNN is looking at big management changes now that they got caught falsely pushing their phony Russian stories. Ratings way down!"
Fake News CNN is looking at big management changes now that they got caught falsely pushing their phony Russian stories. Ratings way down!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2017