WASHINGTON – A senior producer at CNN has described the intense speculation that Russia aided the Trump presidential campaign as “bullshit.” Filmed on a hidden camera, CNN producer John Bonifield admits the organisation’s anti-Russia reporting is purely for ratings.
“It’s mostly bullshit right now. Like, we don’t have any big giant proof,” Bonifield tells a reporter in secretly-filmed footage released by conservative activist James O’Keefe via Project Veritas.
O’Keefe formed Veritas in 2010 claiming its mission was to “investigate and expose corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud and other misconduct.” It has since been sued for its information-gathering methods, primarily targeting liberal organizations, and presenting its findings in a misleading, highly edited format.
In this latest Veritas sting, Bonifield, Supervising Producer at CNN Health, makes the admissions to an unidentified journalist, who is heard in a brief edit of clips asking about the Russian narrative in CNN’s reporting.
“So why is CNN constantly like, ‘Russia this, Russia that?’” the journalist asks, to which Bonifield responds, “Because it’s ratings.”
“Our CIA is doing shit all the time, we’re out there trying to manipulate governments,” Bonifield says.
“I think the President is probably right to say, like, look, you are witch-hunting me,” Bonifield admits.
CNN’s Russia tactic has paid off, Bonifield admits: “Our ratings are incredible right now.”
Here's my shocked face 😂#CNNtapes producer admits pushing Russia 4 ratings. POTUS was right!
CNN has no credibility or journalistic ethics.
— Cathy Buchanan 🇺🇸 (@CBuch64) June 27, 2017
Bonifield explains how far CNN pushed the Russia line, describing a meeting in which reporters were told by the CEO to stop covering climate accords, urging instead “Let’s get back to Russia.”
“It’s a business, people are like the media has an ethical phssssss…All the nice cutesy little ethics that used to get talked about in journalism school you’re just like, that’s adorable. That’s adorable. This is a business,” Bonifield says in the video.
Bonifield does not mention CNN’s current CEO Jeff Zucker by name in the video, which O’Keefe says was filmed in Atlanta in a video monologue.