Thursday evening, Curtis Houck at NewsBusters noted that CNN Chairman Jeff Zucker had criticized Fox News as “state-run TV” and a “pure propaganda machine” that “does an incredible disservice to this country” at a media conference earlier in the day sponsored by the Financial Times.
Fox's Tucker Carlson also went after Zucker Thursday evening, reminding viewers that CNN is literally state-run TV in certain countries.
AdWeek's TV Newser reported that at the same conference, "former White House senior adviser Steve Bannon said it was CNN that was a 'propaganda outfit' ... every night it’s hate Trump."
Zucker also lodged the same "state-run TV" charge at Fox in April 2017.
Carlson contended that Zucker has a lot of nerve recklessly throwing around the "state-run TV" charge. Under Zucker, CNN has functioned as a lapdog for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's authoritarian government in Turkey, and has had no trouble partnering with the murderous regimes in the Philippines and elsewhere:
Here's the transcript:
TUCKER CARLSON: Well, CNN chairman Jeff Zucker took a brief pause from gun control advocacy today to attend a media conference in New York City.
Zucker bragged about his stewardship of the third-place network and took a shot at us. Fox News is, quote, "a pure propaganda machine that does a disservice to this country," Zucker said. It’s, quote, "state-run TV."
Now, there are a lot of ways to respond to a charge like that. I worked for Jeff Zucker once, actually. We could spend the rest of this hour reminiscing about it. But instead, let’s consider the humor in this. State-run TV?
We know on some level all criticism is self-criticism. You accuse others of being what you secretly know you are. But even by the usual standards of Freudian projection, Jeff Zucker has made an amazing claim.
As it happens, just today, probably as Zucker was speaking, a controlling interest in CNN Turk — that's CNN's cable station in Turkey — was sold to an arm of the regime there. Jeff Zucker's network is now in effect in business with the authoritarian Islamist and highly anti-American Erdogan government. In Turkey, where it actually matters, CNN is literally state-run TV. Zucker didn’t mention that in his remarks today weirdly.
Nothing much will change for CNN Turk. Zucker’s station already lovingly broadcasts every Erdogan speech in its entirety. It denies a platform to Turkey's besieged opposition parties.
The channel has long trafficked in lunatic and anti-American conspiracy theories. CNN Turk once accused an American professor with no evidence at all of helping to orchestrate a failed 2016 coup against Erdogan. That's a claim that of course echoes one of the Turkish government's most emphatic talking points.
CNN Turk, quote, "amplifies the hateful and xenophobic narrative of the Erdogan regime," says one independent Turkish journalist.
If the regime demands it, sometimes Jeff Zucker's state TV channel doesn’t cover the news at all. For example, in 2013, more than 8,000 pro-democracy protesters were injured protesting the Erdogan government. Jeff Zucker’s channel ignored the whole thing. CNN Turk ran a documentary on penguins instead.
So how much is Jeff Zucker making in exchange for airing propaganda on behalf of a hostile foreign power? We put in a couple of calls to CNN to find out. They haven’t gotten back to us yet, weirdly.
But Turkey is not the only country where CNN is state TV. Jeff Zucker run as sleazy little sideline selling airtime to oppressive governments in a lot of places around the world. For example, two years ago, Zucker announced CNN Philippines. Quote, "We are confident the Filipino audience is going to embrace CNN Philippines," Zucker said at the time.
What Jeff Zucker didn’t say is that CNN Philippines is in part controlled by the government of Rodrigo Duterte, whose death squads have killed tens of thousands of Filipinos. That’s Jeff Zucker’s business partner.
We could go on, and on. What’s amazing is that few Americans know about any of this. Jeff Zucker has escaped the scrutiny of say, RT, the cable channel that late last year was forced to register as an agent of a foreign government.
Yet, Jeff Zucker is also an agent of foreign governments. He takes their money, he runs their propaganda. He hides their internal repression and runs penguin videos instead.
Where else is Jeff Zucker doing this? Good question. Maybe we could use a congressional hearing or two to find out.
CNN has a sordid long-term history of kowtowing to totalitarian regimes in the name of "access."
In an April 11, 2003 a New York Times op-ed (backup link here) published shortly after the formal occupation of Baghdad by coalition forces led by the U.S. military in Gulf War II, CNN's Eason Jordan admitted that the network bent its coverage to satisfy Saddam Hussein's ruthless government in Iraq for over a decade:
The news we kept to ourselves
Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN's Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard — awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.
... CNN had been in Baghdad long enough to know that telling the world about the torture of one of its employees would almost certainly have gotten him killed and put his family and co-workers at grave risk.
... I came to know several Iraqi officials well enough that they confided in me that Saddam Hussein was a maniac who had to be removed.
... I felt awful having these stories bottled up inside me.
As I wrote in 2014:
CNN stayed on (in Iraq), giving him (Saddam Hussein) the ability under a constant threat of violence to manage the news the world got to see about his country. CNN would have been better off leaving Iraq, and clearly telling the world why.
Shortly after Jordan's 2003 op-ed, the Honest Reporting blog identified several specific instances where CNN twisted its reporting to favor Saddam's regime, and made the additional point that Palestinians had been similarly intimidating journalists for decades with minimal disclosure by those reporters' outlets.
That flashback to 2003 came about four years ago when it was learned that Hamas was overtly censoring what international news organizations, almost certainly including CNN, could report and photograph.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.