A CNN commentator said that the network’s narrative about the collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia is “a big nothing burger,” in an undercover video released by Project Veritas on Wednesday.
Van Jones, a political commentator at the cable news channel, is the second CNN staff member to have emerged on camera dismissing the Trump-Russia narrative in two days. On Tuesday, the first Project Veritas video was released, apparently showing CNN Producer John Bonifield saying the Russia story is “mostly bull[expletive].”
CNN has been pursuing the story to boost its ratings, Bonifield was also recorded saying. The network’s ratings have been up significantly since the election.
“CNN stands by our medical producer John Bonifield. Diversity of personal opinion is what makes CNN strong, we welcome it and embrace it,” CNN said in a statement following the videos.
Jones, meanwhile, recently made his views known on Russia collusion story.
“I am glad there is a Russia investigation and I hope they get to the bottom of it,” Jones said on June 23 video posted on his Twitter. “I think Democrats are fooling ourselves if we think that something is going to come out of this investigation that is somehow going to end the Trump Presidency and make everything better. Unless there is a real smoking gun which there is probably not, it’s just going to be a big old mess. Meanwhile, we are not talking about jobs, not talking about poverty, not talking about solutions, not talking about the addiction crisis. Let’s talk about our stuff .”
Video: See both of the Project Veritas videos exposing CNN below this article.
After President Trump was elected, CNN’s Trump-Russia narrative dominated their coverage. Other news outlets, including The Washington Post, the New York Times, and a number of other mainstream news outlets have continued to push a similar narrative even after now-fired FBI director James Comey stated under oath that President Trump is not under investigation.
Jones, who told the East Bay Express in 2005 that he “was a communist” in the early 1990s, has pushed the collusion narrative in his appearances on CNN. But his statements in the undercover video appear as a stark contrast.
“The Russia thing is just a big nothing-burger,” Jones said, using a colloquial term for something that’s a dead-end, a dud, or insignificant.
The Project Veritas video on Bonifield reached the No. 1 slot of the YouTube trending list on Tuesday. President Trump sent a Twitter message containing the video that day and later commented on the story.
“Fake News CNN is looking at big management changes now that they got caught falsely pushing their phony Russian stories. Ratings way down!” he wrote. “So they caught Fake News CNN cold, but what about NBC, CBS & ABC? What about the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost? They are all Fake News!”
White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also admonished the outlets in a heated press briefing that day.
“I think it’s a disgrace to all of media, to all of journalism,” Sanders said. “I think we have gone to a place where if the media can’t be trusted to report the news, then that’s a dangerous place for America. And I think if that is the place that certain outlets are going, particularly for the purpose of spiking ratings, and if that’s coming directly from the top, I think that’s even more scary, and certainly more disgraceful.”
The two videos come at an ominous time for CNN, having just retracted a story about the Trump-Russia collusion theory. Three journalists who worked on the story resigned in the aftermath. The story claimed that President Trump associate Anthony Scaramucci is linked with a $10 billion Russian investment firm. CNN has since issued an apology to Scaramucci.
The retraction and the resignations came about after the network was threatened with a $100 million libel suit, According to a Tuesday story published by the New York Post.
Part 1, released on June 27
Part 2, released on June 28