All day, Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe has been hyping the huge revelations the group would be releasing from their latest stunt. In a dramatic video posted Tuesday morning, the conservative activist could be seen unmuting himself and informing CNN chief Jeff Zucker, “We’ve been listening to your CNN calls for basically two months and recording everything. Just wanted to ask you some questions, if you have a minute.”
“Do you still feel you are the most trusted name in news?” he asked. “Because I have to say from what I’ve been hearing on these phone calls, I don’t know about that. I mean, we’ve got a lot of recordings that indicate you’re not really that independent of a journalist.”
“Thank you for your comments,” Zucker replied, dryly. “So everybody, in light of that, I think what we’ll do is we’ll set up a new system and we’ll be back with you, we’ll do the rest of the call a little bit later.”
So what were the supposedly shocking comments O’Keefe uncovered? According to his group’s Tuesday night release, the most damning thing anyone on CNN’s editorial team did was accuse Fox News’ Tucker Carlson of being a racist.
“I think it’s unavoidable that you have to talk about the naked racism of Tucker Carlson,” a man Project Veritas identified as CNN digital VP of global programming Marcus Mabry says in one tape. “Because that’s really what drove this anti-diversity push, you know, Trump watches Tucker Carlson's show and then reacts. And just as sort of the white supremacy hour they have on Fox News every night.”
Not exactly news for anyone who watches Carlson’s nightly show, including some of his own Fox News colleagues who said as much earlier this year.
Without mentioning Project Veritas, Carlson attacked Mabry directly on that show Tuesday night for “lecturing” media companies about the value of diversity. The host laughed out loud at the notion that “there’s a lot of work to do” to make newsrooms more diverse.
CNN’s PR Twitter account, meanwhile, responded to Project Veritas with this message: “Legal experts say this may be a felony. We‘ve referred it to law enforcement,” though it’s unclear what laws the group may have broken.
Later, that same account revealed that Mabry was not even the staffer who made those comments about Carlson. “James & Tucker, the voice you ID’d tonight as ‘Marcus Mabry’ is actually GA resident & CNN General Counsel David Vigilante. We’re certain you’ll want to correct the record and apologize to the Black executive for assuming he was the voice raising concerns over white supremacy.”
The other big revelation from Project Veritas appeared to be that Zucker did not want his staff to “normalize” President Donald Trump’s delusional claims about the election.
“This is a president who knows he’s losing, who knows he’s in trouble, is sick, maybe is on the aftereffects of steroids or not, I don’t know,” Zucker said. “But he is acting erratically and desperately, and we need to not normalize that.”
“You know, this is what we've come to expect for the last three and a half years, four years, but it clearly is exacerbated by the time that we're in and the issues that he’s [Trump] dealing with,” he added. “I think that we cannot just let it be normalized. He is all over the place and acting erratically, and I think we need to lean into that.”
It appears that for Project Veritas, pointing out the reality unfolding in front of Americans’ eyes, whether on Fox News or in the White House, is proof of CNN’s supposed bias. But if anything, their big sting is likely to endear Zucker to those who still like to blame him for elevating Trump during the 2016 campaign.