Can We Finally Call CNN What God Calls It?

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Any news source that sacrifices a faithful recounting of the facts to propagate political propaganda, gossip and rumor, or deliberately constructed lies is inherently deceitful. This is the clear teaching of God’s Word. Proverbs 14:25 says, “A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.” Likewise, Psalm 7:14 reveals that such deception is the fruit of a wicked heart that is not aligned with God, “Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies.”

Nobody expects the news media to be 100% accurate all the time. In fact, Politico Senior Media Writer Jack Shafer warns, “If we don’t make accommodations for errors, we’ll be left with a press too timid to get the story.”[1] However, there is a difference between occasional errors and the consistent pattern of misrepresentation and selective reporting of facts seen throughout much of the mainstream media. Perhaps none have been as effective at revealing intentional deception and manipulation by major news outlets as Project Veritas.

Project Veritas’ undercover sting operations have repeatedly secured controversial videos exposing the inner workings of America’s national news networks, such as an ABC News correspondent claiming the network does not care about newsworthy issues,[2] or a “Good Morning America” anchor complaining that the network killed her story about alleged pedophile ringleader Jeffrey Epstein.[3][4] A particular target of Project Veritas has long been CNN. Recently, Project Veritas has released new footage of CNN Technical Director Charlie Chester acknowledging that the network engaged in “propaganda” to remove Donald Trump from the presidency.[5]

Charlie Chester is captured on video admitting, “Like our focus was to get Trump out of office, right? Without saying it, that’s what it was, right?”[6] He boasts, “Look what we did, we got Trump out. I am 100% going to say it, and I 100% believe that if it wasn’t for CNN, I don’t know that Trump would have got voted out. I really don’t think so. … I came to CNN because I wanted to be a part of that.”[7] According Chester, this was accomplished, in part, by manufacturing propaganda, “We did it, like when Trump was, I don’t know, like his hand was shaking or whatever, I think. We brought in so many medical people to tell a story that was a speculation—that he was neurologically damaged, and he was losing it. He’s unfit to—you know, whatever. We were creating a story there that we didn’t know anything about. That’s what—I think that’s propaganda.”[8]

Such revelations should come as no surprise for anyone paying attention to CNN’s news coverage these past several years; nonetheless, it is surprising to hear CNN’s Technical Director admit it. Chester goes on to confess a predetermined agenda when reporting on COVID-19 and climate change, the stoking of fear to drive ratings, and even to using manipulation to shape public opinion. After admitting that CNN tends to bury the lead when reporting, Chester explains:

Listen to the way they ask questions. Because they’re not actually asking questions. Any reporter on CNN. What they’re actually doing is they’re telling the person what to say. It’s an art form in there. There’s an art form to it, but it would be like, the accident thing you just saw, right? One of the reporters would be like, so then, you know, that man clearly went through the intersection slamming into this car or whatever it was. And it really is unfortunate that, you know, our infrastructure of traffic lights and whatnot is falling apart in the, in the city. How do you feel about the traffic lights and the infrastructure or whatnot? We’ve led them to talk about how we want them to talk about it. It’s always like leading them in a direction before they even open their mouths. And the only people that we will let on the air, for the most part, are people that have a proven track record of taking the bait.[9]

In my book Culture of Lies: Understanding Fake News and Its Spiritual Ramifications, I document the news media’s long history of intentionally manipulating, distorting, and even fabricating news for the purpose of directing public opinion. CNN is not exceptional, nor are these new tactics. The unfortunate truth is that we live in an era where objective news coverage is nearly impossible to find—and the larger the news outlet, the greater their hidden agenda tends to be. Charlie Chester admits even this, “I mean, there’s no such thing as unbiased news. It just doesn’t exist. There’s too many agendas. There’s too many people that have jobs, that need to feed their families for it to be unbiased. It’s impossible. The most unbiased news is grassroots, out of people’s basements with podcasts. That’s the most unbiased you could probably get.”[10]

According to Chester, CNN’s bias is certainly political and deliberately employs propaganda:

If the agenda say, is to like get Matt Gaetz right now. He’s like this Republican. He’s a problem for the Democratic Party because he’s so conservative and he can cause a lot of hiccups in passing of laws and whatnot. So, it would be great for the Democratic Party to get him out. So, we’re going to keep running those stories to keep hurting him and make it so that it can’t be buried and like just settled outside of court and just like, you know, if we keep pushing that, it’s helping us. That’s propaganda because it’s helping us in some way.[11]

It appears that CNN places political agendas above its news coverage, and it is happy to color its reporting with manipulative propaganda techniques. Considering this, can we finally dispense with CNN’s patently ridiculous slogan, “The most trusted name in news”? Can we stop elevating the authority of CNN as a standard-bearer in news reporting? Instead, can we finally call CNN what God calls it?

According to God’s Word, CNN is intentionally deceptive (Prov. 14:25) and is, therefore, wicked (Psa. 7:14) and something to be hated (Prov. 6:16–19). Of course, CNN is not alone. The same can be said of the New York Times and many other major news outlets. Until we can be brutally honest with ourselves about the state of news coverage in our country, we will be unable to discern truth from error, and we risk embracing the very lies that God hates.

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Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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1. Shafer, Jack. “Should Journalists Have the Right to Be Wrong?” Fourth Estate. Politico Magazine, June 29, 2017. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/29/journalists-right-to-be-wrong-cnn-215320.

2. “BREAKING: Senior ABC News Reporter Reveals Top Bosses Spikes News Important to Voters: ‘Our Bosses Don’t See an Upside’; Network Refuses to Acknowledge Trump’s Successes: ‘We Also Don’t Give Him Credit for What Things He Does Do.’” Project Veritas, February 26, 2020. https://www.projectveritas.com/news/breaking-senior-abc-correspondent-david-wright-on-hidden-camera-how-bosses-dont-see-an-upside-for-reporting-news-the-truth-suffers-says-abc-doesn/.

3. “[VIDEO] Leaked Insider Recording from ABC News Reveals Network Executives Killed Bombshell Story Implicating Jeffrey Epstein.” Project Veritas, November 5, 2019. https://www.projectveritas.com/news/video-leaked-insider-recording-from-abc-news-reveals-network-executives-killed-bombshell-story-implicating-jeffrey-epstein/.

4. Moore, Thomas. “New York Times Defends Itself against Project Veritas Defamation Suit.” Hill, April 13, 2021, 2:30 p.m., EDT. https://thehill.com/homenews/media/547995-new-york-times-defends-itself-against-project-veritas-defamation-suit.

5. “PART 1: CNN Director ADMITS Network Engaged in ‘Propaganda’ to Remove Trump from Presidency … ‘Our Focus Was to Get Trump out of Office’ … ‘I Came to CNN Because I Wanted to Be a Part of That.’” Project Veritas, April 13, 2021. https://www.projectveritas.com/news/part-1-cnn-director-admits-network-engaged-in-propaganda-to-remove-trump/.

6. “PART 1: CNN Director ADMITS Network Engaged in ‘Propaganda’ to Remove Trump from Presidency.”

7. “PART 1: CNN Director ADMITS Network Engaged in ‘Propaganda’ to Remove Trump from Presidency.”

8. “PART 1: CNN Director ADMITS Network Engaged in ‘Propaganda’ to Remove Trump from Presidency.”

9. “PART 2: CNN Director Charlie Chester Reveals How Network Practices ‘Manipulation’ to ‘Change the World’: ‘There’s an Art to Manipulation … Inflections, Saying Things Twice … It’s Always Like Leading Them in a Direction before They Even Open Their Mouths.’” Project Veritas, April 14, 2021. https://www.projectveritas.com/news/part-2-cnn-director-charlie-chester-reveals-how-network-practices/.

10. “PART 2: CNN Director Charlie Chester Reveals How Network Practices ‘Manipulation’ to ‘Change the World.’”

11. O’Keefe, James (@JamesOKeefeIII). 2021. “BREAKING: CNN Director REVEALS @CNN Coverage of @RepMattGaetz Is ‘Propaganda.’ If the agenda say, is to get @mattgaetz right now, he’s like this Republican. He’s a problem for the Democratic Party…So we’re(@CNN) going to keep running these stories to keep hurting him.” Twitter, April 13, 2021, 4:06 p.m. https://twitter.com/JamesOKeefeIII/status/1382062653816856576.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.