Amid a vast denunciation of the media’s role in covering special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that failed to find any collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia, CNN’s president stands firm in his belief that his network did nothing wrong.
“We are not investigators,” Zucker wrote in an email. “We are journalists, and our role is to report the facts as we know them, which is exactly what we did.
“A sitting president’s own Justice Department investigated his campaign for collusion with a hostile nation. That’s not enormous because the media says so. That’s enormous because it’s unprecedented.”
The Times found a similar note struck by its own editor and the editor of The Washington Post.
“The special counsel investigation documented, as we reported, extensive Russian interference in the 2016 election and widespread deceit on the part of certain advisers to the president about Russian contacts and other matters,” said Martin Baron, executive editor of The Post. “Our job is to bring facts to light. Others make determinations about prosecutable criminal offenses.”
Dean Baquet, executive editor of The Times, said, “We wrote a lot about Russia, and I have no regrets. It’s not our job to determine whether or not there was illegality.”
But that’s not the tune being sung by others, including some in the liberal media.
Matt Taibbi, a Rolling Stone writer and outspoken Trump critic, wrote on his website that the lack of charges, coming after almost two years of reporting about the certainty of them, was “a death blow for the reputation of the American news media.”
Michael Isikoff, who co-wrote “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump,” told The Times, “It’s pretty clear that a lot of people in the media, particularly on cable news, got ahead of their skis on this.”
The 3 biggest losers from the Mueller report in order—the media,the media, the media. It was obsessed & hysterical for 2 years, constantly suggesting the smoking-gun Russia revelation was just over the horizon, sometimes supporting its wished-for conclusion w/ erroneous reporting
— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) March 24, 2019
Washington Post: 1,184
The New York Times: 1,156
These are the number of stories ran on the Mueller investigation since September
On average, 13 stories per day
All about an investigation with no evidence, no no grounding in the truth, and no crime
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) March 25, 2019
Alan Dershowitz on the Mueller report and Barr letter: “This is a good day for the President. It’s a very, very bad day for CNN … they should be hanging their heads in shame.”
“They misinformed the American public and they have to have some public accountability” pic.twitter.com/2AZLdmmSYw
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 24, 2019
Some of the strongest condemnations of CNN came from Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who savaged CNN’s coverage of the Mueller probe several hours after Zucker praised it.
“The ‘greatest value add.’ That’s how CNN sums up its role in the Russia story,” Carlson said.
“Does a single person believe that? Of course not. Not one person. Jeff Zucker himself doesn’t believe that. And that’s why he sent out his marionette to lie, as you just saw. Jeff Zucker is an anxious man tonight: he’s been caught doing the one thing journalists are not allowed to do. He intentionally misled his audience,” Carlson said.
“In a fair world, Zucker would be running a car wash, or selling time-shares in Cancun. He would not be in the news business,” Carlson said. “Zucker himself knows that very well. He knows he’s an impostor. In a fair world, CNN wouldn’t call itself a news network at all. It’s far less than that, and it has been for a long time.”
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