A CNN technical director said the network employed “propaganda” to defeat President Trump in 2020 and suggested the same thing is happening with GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, according to the latest Project Veritas sting.
Undercover video released Tuesday showed technical director Charles Chester crediting CNN for Mr. Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential race.
“Look, what we did, we got Trump out,” said Mr. Chester, who was recorded surreptitiously by a Project Veritas investigator at a restaurant.
“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,” Mr. Chester said, telling another CNN staffer that “I came to CNN because I wanted to be a part of that.”
In a separate clip, he said, “Our focus was to get Trump out of office, right? Without saying it, that’s what it was.”
The Washington Times has reached out to CNN for comment about the Project Veritas video, the first part of what was described as a three-part #ExposeCNN investigation.
In the hidden-camera footage, Mr. Chester described how the network sought to stoke alarm over Mr. Trump’s health.
After seeing that Mr. Trump’s “hand was shaking or whatever, I think,” Mr. Chester said, “we brought in so many medical people to all tell a story that was all speculation — that he was neurologically damaged, and he was losing it. He’s unfit to — you know, whatever.”
There’s a word for that, he said.
“We were creating a story there that we didn’t know anything about. I think that’s propaganda,” Mr. Chester said. “We had nothing else to run with at that time, we were like, just taking shots off the bow, hoping something would hit, you know?”
He also pointed to the coverage of Mr. Gaetz, a Florida Republican who is under a Justice Department investigation into sex trafficking based on an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, according to CNN and other outlets. Mr. Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged.
Asked to define “propaganda,” Mr. Chester said that “if the agenda, say, is to get, like, Matt Gaetz right now — he’s, like, this Republican. He’s a problem for the Democratic Party because he’s so conservative, right?”
Mr. Gaetz “can cause a lot of hiccups in the passing of laws and whatnot. So it would be great for the Democratic Party to get him out,” Mr. Chester said. “So we’re going to keep running these stories to keep hurting him and make it so that it can’t be buried.”
Mr. Chester said that “if we keep pushing that, it’s helping us. That’s propaganda, because it’s helping us in some way.”
The network also sought to make Democratic candidate Joseph R. Biden appear healthy and vigorous during the 2020 campaign, he said.
“We would always show shots of him [Mr. Biden] jogging and that, I’m healthy, blah blah blah, and him in aviator shades. Like you paint him as a young geriatric,” Mr. Chester said.
After COVID-19, Mr. Chester said the network plans to push climate change to the forefront of its coverage.
“Climate change is going to be the next COVID thing for CNN,” he said, adding that “fear sells.”
Project Veritas President James O’Keefe took a jab at CNN President Jeff Zucker, telling him in an on-camera aside that “I think you need to change your motto — ‘the most trusted name in news.’”
“Your own employees, your own director is on tape, telling the American people what we all believe to be true,” Mr. O’Keefe said.
The guerrilla journalism outfit known for its undercover exposes has been accused of deceptively editing its footage, which the organization staunchly denies.
Last year, Project Veritas sued The New York Times for defamation in New York State Supreme Court. A judge last month rejected the newspaper’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.