Earlier this week, conservative “guerrilla journalism” outlet Project Veritas published its latest batch of surreptitiously recorded videos showing CNN executives bragging about their left-leaning bias as they prioritize anti-Trump news items in daily editorial meetings. Now, Trump’s legal counsel claims the network violated the Lanham Act “by constituting misrepresentations to the public, to your advertisers, and to others” to distribute “truly fair and balanced” news.
"Your own employees appear to state that CNN is focused on trying to 'take down President Trump,' driven by a 'personal vendetta' that Mr. Zucker purportedly has against him, rather than reporting the news in an objective manner," Harder wrote in a four-page letter to CNN, referring to CNN President Jeff Zucker. "In the Footage, your employees appear to state that CNN attempts to make its reporting appear neutral and unbiased, when in fact its reporting is far from neutral and highly biased against the President."
“Accordingly, my clients intend to file legal action against you, to seek compensatory damages, treble damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief, reimbursement of legal costs, and all other available legal and equitable remedies, to the maximum extent permitted by law,” Harder notes.
The potentially damning footage was recorded by now-former CNN employee Cary Poarch, who told Fox News’ “Hannity” on Monday that he made the recordings because the network was “pumping out propaganda.” Poarch left CNN as a result of the recordings.
In one of the videos of a morning editorial meeting, Zucker torpedoes a “really good and important story” about the Department of Homeland Security in order to make room for more anti-Trump coverage.
“I don’t think we should move on from shooting migrants at the border in the legs and considering having, you know, alligators and snakes in the moat,” Zucker tells his staff in the video. “I know there is 7,000 impeachment stories and I’m the one that’s saying we should just stay on impeachment, but when … a story of this magnitude comes up and you can objectively say, 'You’re out of your mind,' you should do it and say, 'You’re out of your mind,'" referring to Trump and ways to ridicule him.
“Even though we’re totally left-leaning … we don’t want to admit it,” a man identified by Project Veritas as CNN Field Operations Manager Patrick Davis says to Poarch in another video. “We could be so much better than what we are … we’re supposed to be middle of the road.”
In another clip, a man identified as Floor Manager Mike Brevna tells him, “It’s the Trump Network, dog. It’s like everything is all Trump. They not even thinking about it, they not even thinking about anybody else … It’s so sad, because there’s so much news going on out there, but they don’t cover none of it.”
“Jeff Zucker, basically the president of CNN, has a personal vendetta against Trump… it’s not gonna be positive for Trump. [Zucker] hates him. He’s going to be negative,” a person identified by Project Veritas as CNN Media Coordinator Nick Neville says.
"The aforementioned examples are merely the tip of the iceberg of the evidence my clients have accumulated over recent years," continues Harder in the Wednesday letter. "We also expect substantial additional information about CNN’s wrongful practices to become known in the coming days and weeks.”
“Never in the history of this country has a President been the subject of such a sustained barrage of unfair, unfounded, unethical and unlawful attacks by so-called 'mainstream' news, as the current situation,” Harder wrote. “Statements like ‘excellence in journalism,’ ‘most trusted source for news and information,’ ‘commitment to the truth and to facts’ and ‘truly fair and balanced’ are statements that would be widely considered throughout the journalism community and news industry as journalism that complies with industry-accepted codes of ethics, including the Society for Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics.”
Trump has pointedly derided CNN over the years as “Fake News” and as being guilty of “unfair reporting.” In one incident last November, he infamously revoked CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta’s press pass after Acosta aggressively pressed the president during a press conference, refusing to surrender the microphone. Acosta’s pass was restored two weeks later, and he later wrote a book about Trump titled “Enemy of the People” before resigning in July.
CNN’s Friday response was laconic: "This is nothing more than a desperate PR stunt and doesn't merit a response,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.