CNN’s “Nothing-Burger”: Meatier and Juicier Than Ever
By ANDREW COX | July 7, 2017
A video surfaced depicting CNN’s Van Jones describing the investigation of Russian interference in the past election as a “big nothing-burger”, a rather staunch departure from the left’s position following the presidential election that Moscow had a part in Donald Trump securing the presidency. Predictably, Van Jones was quick to respond; making a lengthy official statement on the matter, wherein he claimed the video, released by Project Veritas, was a hoax and that he remained in line with orthodox Democrats, reaffirming the position that the investigation should continue.
The next day, Project Veritas stung CNN again with another undercover video, this time featuring associate producer, Jimmy Carr. Notably, early in the video, Carr stated that he would defend anything he said on record. Subject matter varied throughout the video, ranging from Carr referring to American voters as “stupid as sh-t” to a description of Kellyanne Conway as “an awful woman [who] looks like she got hit by a shovel”.
In his response, Van Jones implored the public to ignore the videos, calling Project Veritas’ founder James O’Keefe a “purveyor of fake, doctored videos”. This is in reference to a number of cases in which Project Veritas was forced to settle lawsuits with ACORN and NPR, for breaking California law prohibiting the recording of conversations without consent from all present parties. Van Jones did not specifically mention any videos released by Project Veritas that have been legally determined to be “doctored” or “fake”, rather he referenced two instances in which the method of filming was deemed surreptitious. Few outside of the CNN circle have also come to the conclusion that the Van Jones video was doctored, leading to a tentative acceptance of the videos as legitimate. As of now, there has been no official CNN statement about the Jimmy Carr tapes.
CNN had more trouble earlier this week, when President Donald Trump tweeted a WWE related gif of him body slamming a man with the CNN logo covering his face, accompanied with the caption #FraudNewsCNN and #FNN. The gif was sourced to Reddit, specifically r/ The_Donald, posted by user “HanAssholeSolo”. At the time of writing, the meme has already become the president’s most shared tweet garnering over 340,000 shares. Overall response to the tweet was as ever predictable; liberals condemning “clear physical violence against the press” and conservatives applauding the beating of the left wing news outlet.
Today, the tweet has continued to be a main topic of discussion, however no longer for its place in the free speech debate. Rather, it has been CNN’s response to the tweet that has attracted most of the attention. The media giant stated that it has identified the creator of the gif through linking information on his Reddit account to Facebook. Following the identification, CNN contacted the individual and subsequently an extensive apology was posted to r/ The_Donald by the individual, before being removed by site administrators. In wake of the apology, CNN claimed they would release the individual’s personal information in the event that they are not convinced of the authenticity of their apology.
Critics of CNN have derided the network’s actions as predatory and undemocratic. The most inflammatory response has come from the gif creator’s community itself: the Alt-Right. Members of r/The_Donald and the wider Alt-Right community have vowed to wage war against CNN in response. Action against CNN by the Alt-Right has been through a two pronged attack as always. Of the two, the comparatively light hearted trolling response has led to thousands of CNN related memes circulating the internet; many far more offensive than the original WWE themed gif. The darker, more threatening response has been a call for coordinated doxxing of well known CNN employees. At the time of writing, the home addresses, personal phone numbers and personal email addresses have been released through 4Chan’s /pol board. There is good reason for CNN to be worried by the threats, as the Alt-Right has demonstrated on numerous occasions that they will follow through. Most recently, Wikileaks has claimed CNN targeted the wrong individual, leading many to further question the network’s actions. Considering that the reported age of the individual has varied from 15 to 37, it is not inconceivable for this to be true.
At this point, one can not help but wonder if CNN’s firestorm will end soon. Project Veritas representatives have stated that they have no interest in relenting the undercover filming of CNN executives. Ultimately, it appears that the more CNN fights back, the greater their problems.