’Going for jugular’: Undercover filmmakers take aim at CNN
“We weren’t specifically looking for this angle,” Project Veritas communications director Steven Gordon told RT. “We didn’t know exactly what we’d catch.”
The sting video published Tuesday shows CNN producer John Bonifield admitting the network has no evidence of claims that President Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia to subvert the 2016 presidential election.
“I think the president is probably right to say, like, look, you are witch-hunting me,” Bonifield can be heard saying.
Bonifield is “certainly qualified to speak to the issue,” Gordon argued, saying that the producer was present at meetings with network president Jeff Zucker where CNN executives were deciding what to air and what not to air.
“His own pieces were dropped so they could carry Russia pieces, so he’s right in the middle of that mixup,” Gordon said.
Asked if the method of obtaining the statements was ethical, Gordon said that undercover journalism had a “rich, long and proud tradition” of uncovering the truth when other means failed.
The video was made public just as CNN announced the resignations of a reporter and two editors who were involved in a story alleging a congressional investigation into a “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials.” CNN retracted the story on Friday, apologized to a pro-Trump investor named in it, and pledged greater editorial scrutiny of all stories related to Russia.
The scandal prompted Trump to denounce the network as “fake news” once more.
“This administration disagrees with all of the stories that claim that the pres and his campaign colluded with Russia in any capacity,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House deputy press secretary, told reporters on Tuesday.
Trump believes the accusation is a hoax and “certainly something that’s not true and didn’t take place,” Sanders added.
“Whether it’s accurate or not, I don’t know,” Sanders said of the Project Veritas video. “But I would encourage everybody in this room and frankly everybody across the country to take a look at it. I think if it is accurate, it’s a disgrace to all of media.”
Speaking to RT, Gordon vowed the footage of Bonifield was authentic.
“It’s a fact. It’s on video,” he said.
Project Veritas is led by James O’Keefe III, a controversial conservative activist known for undercover videos such as the 2009 one that ultimately led to the bankruptcy and dissolution of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
Last October, a series of undercover videos prompted the resignations of Robert Creamer and Scott Foval, two Democratic operatives who allegedly organized hecklers at Trump’s rallies and used a man in a Donald Duck costume to hound the presidential candidate about his taxes.
While last year Project Veritas went around the mainstream media to get its information out, “now we’re going directly after the mainstream media, we’re going for the jugular,” Gordon told RT.
“We’d like to put the mainstream on notice,” he added. “Veritas is everywhere.”
Another CNN video will be published on Wednesday, O’Keefe said on Twitter.