Last Thursday morning, CNN President Jeff Zucker went on his morning editorial conference call and urged his network to land former DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile, who is blasting open corruption at the DNC with the force of a water cannon with her new tell-all, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House.
That plan failed, according to a well-placed media insider. Brazile, a former political commentator for CNN, wouldn’t play ball. “Oh, fuck no,” a source with knowledge of the phone calls told The Mirror.
Zucker was trying to get Brazile on the air since she left last year.
On Friday, Zucker was back on the horn with employees from around the world.
By then, he was trashing her.
“Jeff Zucker has made it his mission to destroy Donna’s name and credibility at any turn,” the insider continued. “He never passed on a moment to trash her on an editorial call heard by hundreds of senior staffers everyday.”
Here’s what Zucker allegedly told his staff: “If Donna lied to us, what makes you think she’s not lying now? Her credibility is zilch with me.”
When asked for comment, a CNN spokeswoman sent this along by email: “Any suggestion that CNN has ordered its employees to undermine Donna Brazile is false.”
Politico Magazine published a blistering excerpt of Brazile’s memoir on Nov. 2. that revealed that former Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton‘s campaign had a financial agreement with the DNC before Clinton became the nominee.
On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson reported that CNN instructed its reporters to badmouth Brazile to cast doubt on her claims.
“According to highly informed sources we spoke to–highly informed–top management at CNN directed its employees to undermine Brazile’s credibility,” Carlson said. “Anchors and producers were vocally offended by her attacks on their friends, the Clintons. If you’ve been watching that channel, you may have noticed CNN’s anchors suggesting that Donna Brazile cannot be trusted, precisely because she took part in efforts to break the primaries for Clinton.”
The relationship between CNN and Brazile has obviously soured.
During the 2016 presidential election, WikiLeaks unloaded a whole bunch of emails, some of which revealed that Brazile leaked debate questions to Clinton. Brazile resigned from her contributor role at CNN in October, 2016. She has since admitted that she regrets sneaking questions to the Clinton camp.
According to Mirror sourcing, despite once using Brazile’s DNC status for their own purposes, CNN employees are all taking their cues from Zucker. Case in point: On CNN’s “Reliable Sources” with Brian Stelter on Sunday, the host nearly repeated verbatim what Zucker has said. As I’ve previously reported, Stelter often gets his marching orders directly from Zucker, particularly on the network’s push to bash President Trump.
During Stelter’s testy interview with Trump Counselor Kellyanne Conway, the feisty White House aide raised the issue of a “credibility crisis in the other party” as Stelter tried to trample her with a poll about how much Americans don’t trust Trump.
“You know, I stopped taking Donna Brazile seriously when she lied and when it was revealed that CNN fired her for giving debate questions to Hillary Clinton,” Stelter snidely told Conway.
No doubt, this line had to have Zucker salivating.
CNN’s headlines about Brazile’s book have been a mix of highly opinionated and straight news.
“Donna Brazile said the 2016 primary was rigged before she said it wasn’t.”
“Former DNC chair torches Clinton in new book.”
“Brazile to critics: Go to hell.”
“Brazile: I found no evidence Democratic primary was rigged.”
A larger point to consider: CNN wasn’t playing fair during the 2016 race because they were using their insider status with Brazile, who, at the time, was one of their own. That they expected her straddle two sharply contrasting jobs and suddenly not be devoted to her party and her job is puzzling. “Anchors, reporters and executives were going to people like Donna to get favors and inside info,” the insider recalled. “I saw it.”
But reporters want what they want.
“All of them are hypocrites because at one time or anther they were seeking out Donna to pass on info from the Democratic party to CNN,” said the insider. “They had no problem using her. Why won’t Zucker admit to that? Why were they reaching out to Donna, using her to get CNN more Democratic debates, forums and town halls?”
The insider added, “He [Zucker] needs to own that shit.”
And one last insult for the road: “He is a fucking prick.”