- President of CNN Worldwide
- Detests Donald Trump and his political allies
Jeffrey Zucker was born to Jewish parents on April 9, 1965 in Homestead, Florida. He attended Harvard University, where he was president of the school newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, and graduated in 1986 with a B.A. in American History. Upon completing his education, Zucker was hired by NBC Universal as a researcher for the network’s scheduled coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics. Zucker continued to work for NBC Universal in a variety of positions — including high-level executive posts like President and CEO – until 2010. When Comcast acquired 51% of NBC Universal in 2010, Zucker was paid between $30 million and $40 million to leave NBC. He then worked a brief stint as producer of Katie, a Disney-ABC Domestic Television talk show starring Katie Couric, before becoming the President of CNN Worldwide on January 1, 2013.
When Al Gore ran for the White House in 2000 he offered Zucker a position in his presidential administration, though it never materialized because Gore lost the election that November. In 2008, Zucker donated money to Barack Obama‘s presidential campaign. And in 2013, Zucker’s son Andrew worked briefly for Democrat U.S. Senator Cory Booker.
In 2004 Zucker and his then-wife attended a dinner party in San Francisco, where, Zucker later recalled, the city’s then-district attorney, Kamala Harris “really knocked our socks off.” So impressed with Harris was Zucker, that in 2009 he hosted a “power breakfast” at New York’s Rockefeller Center in order to introduce Harris to some of the city’s most prominent and influential people. “Kamala is not just important for the city of San Francisco, the state of California,” Zucker told those in attendance, “but for the entire country.” “This is in fact the first time I’ve ever done one of these [power breakfasts],” Zucker added, “and that’s because I have a very, very strict policy because of my job. I’ve taken a position that I completely stay out of supporting candidates of any party and try to stay out of politics entirely.”
In 2019, Cary Poarch, an employee at CNN’s Washington, D.C. Bureau, contacted Project Veritas, which uses undercover investigative journalism to expose political and media corruption, and offered to “wear a hidden camera … to expose the bias running rampant” at CNN. Over the course of several months, Poarch compiled undercover video and audio footage of numerous long-term employees at CNN, some of whom spoke candidly about Zucker’s hatred for President Donald Trump. In one video clip, for instance, CNN media coordinator Nick Neville stated: “Jeff Zucker – basically president of CNN – has a personal vendetta against Trump. Your own biases are gonna be there. They’re going to seep into what you think, they’re gonna seep into what you say, so if Jeff Zucker like blatantly hates Trump, and he runs CNN (which he does) … it’s not gonna be positive for Trump. He hates him [Trump]. It’s gonna be negative!”
In another clip, CNN media coordinator Christian Sierra recounted an instance where, while host Jake Tapper was on the air conducting a contentious interview with White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, Zucker entered the control room and told the program’s executive producer to skip commercials and continue grilling Conway, because Zucker wanted to “just fu**ing nail her.” Added Sierra:
- “Jeff Zucker runs the show. He made, he will personally go into the control room. and if Jake Tapper’s interviewing Kellyanne Conway, he went into the control room during that interview and he was like, keep going and keep going. Ask the questions. We’ll pass the commercial breaks. Keep going … I mean they turned a seven minute interview into a 25 minute interview.”
- “Jeff Zucker personally got on the phone with the executive producer of Tapper’s show…. [Conway] was arguing back and forth with Jake Tapper and Zucker told them in the ear piece, keep going, keep going, keep going. Don’t stop you guys.”
In recordings of conversations between Zucker and CNN staffers, Zucker could be heard saying things like this:
- “I want to stay with this, our top, top – our own reporters, our own political analysts, the top, the top [unintelligible] we have. Okay, so make sure we’re doing that. All these moves are moves towards [Trump’s] impeachment. So, don’t – don’t lose sight of what the biggest story is.”
- “Let’s just stay very focused on impeachment. We shouldn’t just pretend, oh, this is going one way. And so all of these moves are toward impeachment.”
Zucker’s contempt for Trump also manifested itself in CNN’s overwhelmingly negative coverage of the President and members of his administration, coverage that frequently featured demonstrably false information. Journalist Sharyl Attkisson has document numerous instances of such bias. Some examples:
- January 20, 2017: CNN claimed that Nancy Sinatra was “not happy” about her father’s song “My Way” being used at Trump’s inauguration. Sinatra subsequently responded, “That’s not true. I never said that. Why do you lie, CNN?… Actually I’m wishing him the best.”
- May 10, 2017: CNN reported leaked information falsely claiming that Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey shortly after Comey had requested additional resources to investigate possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
- June 6, 2017: Four CNN reporters said that Comey was going to publicly refute Trump’s claim that Comey had told the President three times that he [Trump] was not under investigation. Instead, Comey confirmed Trump’s claim.
- 2017: CNN repeatedly reported, as though it were fact, the Hillary Clinton claim that 17 separate U.S. intelligence agencies had concluded that Russia was behind a number of election-year attacks designed to help Trump win the presidency. In reality, only 3 or 4 agencies, not 17, had done so.
- September 5, 2017: CNN’s Chris Cillizza claimed that Trump had “lied” when stating that Trump Tower had been wiretapped. It was later learned that numerous wiretaps had indeed been conducted against Trump Tower.
- November 6, 2017: CNN’s Daniel Shane deceptively edited excerpts from a Trump event to (falsely) make it seem as though the President was unaware that Japan built automobiles in the United States.
- November 6, 2017: CNN deceptively edited a video to falsely make it appear as though Trump had broken protocol by impatiently dumping a box of fish food into the water during a fish-feeding ritual at a Japanese palace.
- December 4, 2017: CNN referenced the “lies” that Trump’s Deputy National Security Adviser, K.T. McFarland, supposedly had told about another Trump official’s contacts with Russians. CNN’s claim turned out to be untrue.
- December 8, 2017: CNN’s Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb reported that Donald Trump Jr. had conspired with WikiLeaks in advance of the publication of internal emails that were highly damaging to the Democrat Party and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. But CNN had the date wrong: WikiLeaks and Trump Junior had been in contact after the emails were published.
- May 16, 2018: CNN’s Oliver Darcy deceptively excerpted a Trump comment in a manner that made it seem as if the President had referred to immigrants or illegal immigrants generally as “animals.” But in fact, Trump was referring specifically to members of the murderous MS-13 criminal gang.
- May 28, 2018: CNN’s Hadas Gold used her Twitter page to share a news story with photos of illegal-immigrant children in cages at U.S. detention facilities, as though the story and photos were about conditions under the Trump administration. But the article and photos were actually from 2014, when Barack Obama was president.
- November 14, 2018: CNN’s Jeff Zeleny reported that President Trump had decided to fire a Deputy National Security Adviser upon the First Lady’s demand. But the story was untrue; the adviser had simply been reassigned to another job.
- January 22, 2019: CNN was one of multiple news outlets that mischaracterized as aggressors a group of Trump-supporting Catholic teenagers from Kentucky at a pro-life rally in Washington, D.C.
- July 13, 2019: In a story about a lawsuit alleging that Trump, during his presidential campaign, had forcibly kissed a campaign worker, CNN failed to mention that that lawsuit had already been dismissed.
- August 2019: CNN falsely reported that an illegal-immigrant mother had her baby ripped from her arms while she was breast-feeding.
- September 10, 2019: Citing anonymous sources, CNN falsely reported claims that the CIA had removed a top U.S. spy from Russia in 2017 because of concern over President Trump’s careless handling of classified information.
On another occasion, in July 2018, CNN falsely claimed that Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, was prepared to tell special counsel investigators that the President had known in advance about a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son, Donald Trump Jr., and a Russia lawyer.
In October 2019, CNN published a “fact check” claiming that President Trump had grossly exaggerated the depleted state of America’s munitions stockpile when he was first sworn into office, and also his impact on the subsequent rebuild of that stockpile. But in its presentation, CNN completely omitted a large amount of data provided by a Heritage Foundation defense analyst demonstrating that Trump’s assertions were absolutely accurate.
In light of CNN’s long history of inaccuracies and dishonesty vis-a-vis President Trump and other conservatives, liberal attorney Alan Dershowitz said in July 2019: “[Zucker] has destroyed CNN. He has made it impossible for people to hear two sides of a view or any side of a view other than Jeff Zucker’s view, and that’s not the way television should operate…. [Viewers are] not getting analysis or reporting; they’re getting wishful thinking, and that’s not a substitute for hard news.”
Further Reading: “Jeff Zucker” (Jewish Virtual Library, Conservapedia); “CNN Boss Hosted ‘Power Breakfast’ for Kamala Harris Before Senate Victory” (Newsbusters, 7-29-2019); “CNN Insider Blows Whistle on … Jeff Zucker’s Personal Vendetta Against POTUS” (Project Veritas, 10-14-2019); “While Jake Tapper Is Interviewing Kellyanne Conway, Jeff Zucker Tells Producer To Skip Commercials, Extend Interview, ‘Just F***Ing Nail Her’” (RedState.com, 10-16-2019); “Project Veritas’ Alleged CNN Whistleblower Claims Network Is ‘Pumping out Propaganda’” (Fox News, 10-15-2017); “Media Mistakes in the Trump Era: The Definitive List” (by Sharyl Attkisson); “Jeff Zucker: No Regrets on CNN’s Russia Hoax Coverage” (Breitbart.com, 3-26-2019, re: false claim about Michael Cohen); “In Trump Fact Check, CNN Fact-Checker Leaves Out …the Facts” (The Daily signal, 10-15-2019); “Alan Dershowitz: ‘Jeff Zucker Should Be Fired’; He ‘Destroyed CNN’” (Breitbart.com, 7-18-2019).