The Ultimate Irony: Trump Tells CNN President Zucker “You’re Fired!”

Oct. 21, 2019
Bob Adelmann

It could happen. Investors already unhappy with CNN's audience numbers don't need a high-profile lawsuit by President Trump over CNN's blatant political bias.

AT&T paid $85 billion to purchase CNN's parent company Time Warner last summer, and the company is already negotiating with its unhappy investors. The last thing AT&T needs right now is a high-profile lawsuit filed by the President of the United States over CNN's outrageous political bias against the president.

Incensed over disclosures by Project Veritas that Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, is using his CNN network to attack and bring down the Trump presidency, Donald Trump's reelection campaign sent a scathing letter to Zucker and his attorney last week. It charged Zucker and CNN with violating the Lanham Act.

James Murphy, writing for The New American, reviewed the Project Veritas videos that had been released and concluded that the network, in its first video, exhibited "a racial bias in its coverage of [mass] shootings … stories were picked based on the newsroom's agenda and on what type of stories drive ratings." Additional videos "paint a picture of CNN president Jeff Zucker as a vicious, agenda-driven corporate autocrat who is using the network to grind his own personal ax."

Murphy, in a second article for TNA, wrote that "the network seems to be pushing certain candidates … by concentrating election coverage on just a few candidates, the network is attempting … to keep its viewers focused only on what it considers [to be] serious candidates." Murphy concluded that "CNN is not truly a news source but a propaganda outlet."

Trump's campaign attorney Charles Harder agrees. In the letter released to the public on Friday, Harder relied heavily on the Project Veritas videos that have been released so far, claiming that they provide significant, satisfactory, and persuasive evidence that the network is violating federal law.

Harder wrote that CNN sells itself as "The Most Trusted Name in News," declares its journalists are "truth seekers" and the network stands for "excellence in journalism." Instead, according to Harder, CNN actively violates the code of ethics espoused by the Society for Professional Journalism.

That code demands that "ethical journalism should be accurate and fair [and] that journalists should be honest … in gathering, reporting and interpreting information." The code holds journalists to the highest standards of integrity, taking special care "not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story … never deliberately distorting facts or context [and] avoiding political … activities that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility."


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For proof, Harder referred to the Project Veritas videos in his letter to Zucker and his attorney:

Recently released video footage of individuals alleged to be your employees indicates that your reporting relating to President Trump is contrary to your own mission and the aforementioned Code of Ethics. Your own employees appear to state that CNN is focused on trying to "take down President Trump," [and] is driven by a "personal vendetta" that Mr. Zucker purportedly has against him, rather than reporting the news in an objective manner.

In the footage your employees appear to state that CNN attempts to make its reporting appear neutral and unbiased, when in fact its reporting is far from neutral and highly biased against the President.

Harder noted that additional footage coming from Project Veritas is likely to add more proofs: "We also expect substantial additional information about CNN's wrongful practices to become known in the coming days and weeks."

All of which violates the Lanham Act, wrote Harder:

Your actions are in violation of the Lanham Act … by constituting misrepresentations to the public, to your advertisers, and others. Accordingly, my clients intend to file legal action against you, to seek compensatory damages, treble damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief, reimbursement of legal costs, and all other available legal and equitable remedies, to the maximum extent permitted by law.

CNN laughed it off as just a publicity stunt. CNN spokesman Matt Dornic told The Hill: "This is nothing more than a desperate PR stunt and doesn't merit a response."

But the 1946 law has teeth. The law declares that "any person who … uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact which … misrepresents that nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin … of another person's goods, services, or commercial activities … shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is or is likely to be damaged by such act."

The president must prove the charges and show that he has been harmed by them. He has all the help he needs, thanks to Project Veritas.

He also is likely to have the help of AT&T investors who are already unhappy over CNN's dismal audience numbers. In the first week of June, for example, CNN's audience dropped by one-third. And in its "core demographic" – 25 to 54-year olds, the prime demographic used to set the network's advertising rates – CNN lost more than half of them.

So it's plausible – perhaps even likely – that those investors will pressure AT&T to show Zucker the door to avoid more bad publicity. If so, the irony would be complete. After all, it was Zucker who was in charge of programming at NBC when Trump hosted The Apprentice, telling the losers, "You're Fired!"

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Sources:

Western Journal: Trump Threatens CNN with Lawsuit After Undercover Video Emerges

Washington Examiner: Trump campaign to sue CNN over pro-impeachment bias, demands 'substantial payment'

USA Today: Trump presidential campaign threatens to sue CNN, news network calls it a 'PR stunt'

Reuters: Trump threatens to sue CNN, seeks 'substantial' payment over damages: letter

Twitter: The letter

The Blaze: Lawyer for President Trump threatens to sue CNN for biased reporting, seeks 'substantial payment'

Fox Business: Trump threatens legal action against CNN over 'biased reporting practices'

Hollywood Reporter: Donald Trump Letter to CNN Promises Legal Action for "Highly Biased" News

One America News: President Trump's Attorney Threatens To Sue CNN Over Project Veritas Videos

The New American: Racial Bias Exposed: CNN Continues to Bury Itself With Its Own Words

The New American: Talking Points and Picking Winners: Project Veritas Exposes CNN's Editorial Decisions

Background on the Lanham Act

The Federalist: The CNN Ratings Disaster Would Be Worse Without Its Manufactured Audience

Background on Jeff Zucker

History of Donald Trump's The Apprentice

YouTube: 'Anti-Donald Trump crusade': Project Veritas exposé claims channel is biased https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdTqbpGOTVE

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