Conservative filmmaker and activist James O’Keefe released his latest undercover sting video featuring CNN Health Supervising Producer John Bonifield criticizing the network’s coverage of President Donald Trump. He declares the investigation into any possible collusion between the president’s campaign and Russia “mostly bullshit.”
Shortly after the video’s release, supporters of President Trump demanded accountability from the cable news network. On Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson from CNN released a statement to the Daily Beast defending Bonifield.
“CNN stands by our medical producer John Bonifield,” the e-mail read. “Diversity of personal opinion is what makes CNN strong, we welcome it and embrace it.”
The video confirms nearly every right-wing complaint about the mainstream media—ranging from admissions that former President Barack Obama wouldn’t receive the same kind of scrutiny as Trump, to admissions that CNN is more focused on ratings than journalistic ethics. Bonifield later goes on to say that the president is justified in saying “Look, you are witch hunting me.”
Just days before the video’s release, three journalists at CNN resigned after a Russia-related article based on unsubstantiated claims was published. After one of the subjects of the piece, Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci, threatened a lawsuit, it was retracted and an apology was issued.
A hashtag, #AmericanPravda, surfaced after the video’s release. President Trump himself tweeted about the video Tuesday morning.
Fake News CNN is looking at big management changes now that they got caught falsely pushing their phony Russian stories. Ratings way down!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2017
CNN responded to the tweet by citing the network’s high ratings in the wake of the around-the-clock coverage of the Trump administration.
CNN just posted it's most-watched second quarter in history. Those are the facts.
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) June 27, 2017
Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also referenced O’Keefe’s video during Tuesday afternoon’s press briefing in a tense exchange with members of the media. “There are multiple other instances where that outlet that you referenced has been repeatedly wrong and had to point that out or be corrected,” Sanders said of CNN.