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CNN Officially Out Of Investigative Journalism

Anderson Cooper
CNN President Jeff Zucker made official what many conservatives have believed for a long time; CNN is officially out of the investigative journalism business.

Zucker told The New York Times in an email reported by the newspaper, “We are not investigators," Zucker said, according to the Times. "We are journalists, and our role is to report the facts as we know them, which is exactly what we did [on the Trump – Russia collusion hoax].”

As Justin Wise of The Hill noted, Zucker and CNN have faced scrutiny over their operation many times since Trump launched his campaign for president. He told Vanity Fair in November that CNN's audience would shrink if shifted away from covering the president.

"We’ve seen that anytime you break away from the Trump story and cover other events in this era, the audience goes away," he said. "So, we know that, right now, Donald Trump dominates."

That was certainly true during the 2016 presidential campaign, where a Media Research Center study found that, over a two-week period, coverage of Donald Trump’s campaign took up nearly 78 percent of all CNN’s prime time GOP campaign coverage – 580 minutes out of a total of 747 minutes.

All 16 non-Trump candidates got a combined total of just 167 minutes, much of which was spent comparing them to Trump. More than half of the remaining candidate coverage went to Jeb Bush with almost 12 percent (88 minutes). Twelve of the 17 candidates didn’t even break one percent of the coverage (although Rick Perry dropped out of the race after the study was conducted, he was still a candidate during the time period analyzed).

By way of contrast, Ted Cruz, the candidate who had the second most votes next to Trump came in number eight with a scant three minutes of coverage during the study period, strongly suggesting that CNN had its thumb on the scale during the GOP primaries.

“Trump dominates” may be true, but it is how the network has covered the President that has forced it out of the investigative journalism field.

A later Media Research Center report showed CNN chose to cover scandals related to the White House eleven times more than the immigration plan President Donald Trump sent to Congress.

The media watchdog cited four programs (“The Situation Room,” “Erin Burnett OutFront,” “Anderson Cooper 360,” and “Cuomo PrimeTime”) as having spent a little over three hours on negative Trump stories, compared to only 15 minutes on the proposed immigration deal.

The MRC study showed CNN snubbed the plan in favor of the Russia investigation, specifically a New York Times story by Maggie Haberman about Trump wanting to fire special counsel Robert Mueller in June.

“Even before the story by Maggie Haberman and Michael Schmidt broke, the totals were already lopsided in favor of the Trump scandals,” wrote Curtis Houck, the managing editor at Media Research Center’s NewsBusters. Houck’s report also shows “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” spent more than half the program on the Russia investigation and the Strzok-Page scandal, versus just over five minutes on immigration.

“Erin Burnett OutFront” devoted the most time to immigration, but it only amounted to a total of eight minutes, according to NewsBusters.

As the Daily Caller’s Nick Givas reported, the Haberman’s story didn’t reference specific sources or names and only cited “four people told of the matter.” It is fair to say that the entire narrative of Trump planning to fire Mueller was fake news as it was regularly denied by the President and Mueller stayed on the job to complete the report exonerating Trump of any collusion with the Russians.

“Even before the story by Maggie Haberman and Michael Schmidt broke, the totals were already lopsided in favor of the Trump scandals,” wrote Curtis Houck, the managing editor at Media Research Center’s NewsBusters. Houck’s report also shows “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” spent more than half the program on the Russia investigation and the Strzok-Page scandal, versus just over five minutes on immigration.

“Erin Burnett OutFront” devoted the most time to immigration, but it only amounted to a total of eight minutes, according to NewsBusters.

In another study of CNN, reported by Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner, MRC analysts reviewed a day of coverage on Friday, starting with the 4 a.m. Early Start and continuing through the 11 p.m. CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, a total of 20 hours of material.

"After excluding commercials, teases and promos, our analysts found 13 hours, 27 minutes of actual news coverage, an average of just over 40 minutes per hour. Of that, a whopping 92 percent (12 hours, 19 minutes) was devoted to the Trump presidency, with a mere 68 minutes — a little more than three minutes per hour — devoted to all of the other news of the day," said the report.

As for the angle of coverage, MRC found: "The vast majority of all of CNN's guests that day (96, or 78% of the total) were Trump critics, compared to a handful of pro-Trump guests (just seven, or 6% of the total). Another 13 guests were neutral, and seven offered mixed assessments of the administration."

It seems clear to us that, based on the results of the numerous studies the MRC has conducted on the network, CNN long ago got out of the investigative journalism field, it has just taken Jeff Zucker all this time to admit it.

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