Is CNN gunning for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke? The news outlet has published two negative stories on the former Navy SEAL’s past remarks in the last two days.
Reporters went after Zinke for inviting controversial guests on his radio show and for calling himself a geologist despite never having worked as one — though he does have a degree in the subject. Three weeks earlier, CNN alleged Zinke told staffers he favored “excellence” and finding the “best people” to work at the department over “diversity.” Zinke’s office called the claims false.
CNN’s recent focus on Zinke’s comments comes amid calls for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to resign for alleged excessive spending and ethical lapses.
Is Zinke next on the list of administration officials to come under intense scrutiny?
Zinke invited “a self-professed birther on his radio show in 2013 and raised questions about then-President Barack Obama’s college records,” CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski reported on Monday.
On Zinke’s radio show, former Navy SEAL Larry Bailey “claimed without evidence that a black Muslim man arranged for Obama to get admitted to Harvard Law School and that he paid for schooling with a grant from the Saudis.”
That wasn’t Zinke’s only sin, according to Kaczynski. Zinke interviewed another guest, retired Gen. Paul Vallely, about a theory a “Saudi national was ‘the third person’ involved in Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.”
“Vallely also linked Michelle Obama to the Saudi national,” Kaczynski wrote, before noting a 2016 appearance Zinke made on a “birther” Youtube show. Zinke was a sitting congressman at the time.
CNN published another piece on Tuesday, hitting Zinke for touting his geology credentials despite never working as one. Zinke got a geology degree from the University of Oregon and served 23 years as a Navy SEAL.
Zinke’s calling himself a geologist is somehow tantamount to lying under oath to Congress, CNN’s report subtly suggests.
“Since becoming leader of the 70,000-employee agency, Zinke has suggested that he was a geologist or former geologist at least 40 times in public settings, including many under oath before Congress,” CNN’s Sara Ganim reported.
Ganim’s report at one point relies on information on Zinke “compiled by the left-leaning group American Bridge” to show once Zinke left the Navy, “he went into business and politics, never mentioning work in the field of geology.”
Police arrested a male American Bridge operative on March 15 for assaulting Zinke’s female spokesperson after a Capitol Hill hearing. American Bridge is a pro-Democrat political action committee.
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