Thursday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Tucker Carlson responded to CNN chairman Jeff Zucker calling Fox News a “pure propaganda machine.”
Carlson noted an element of hypocrisy given CNN’s associations with the governments of Turkey and the Philippines and suggested Zucker should have to register as an agent of a foreign government much like Russia-owned cable channel RT.
Transcript as follows:
Well, CNN chairman Jeff Zucker took a brief pause from gun control advocacy today to attend a media conference in New York City. Zucker bragged about his stewardship of the third-place network, and then he took a shot at us. Fox News is “a pure propaganda machine” that does a disservice to this country, Zucker said. It’s “state-run TV.”
Now, there are a lot of ways to respond to a charge like that. I worked for Jeff Zucker once actually. We could spend rest of this hour reminiscing about it.
But, instead, let’s consider the humor in this. State-run tv? Now, we know that, on some level, all criticism is self-criticism. You accuse others of being what you secretly know you are.
But even by the usual standards of Freudian projection, Jeff Zucker has made an amazing claim. As it happens, just today, probably as Zucker was speaking, a controlling interest in CNN Turk – that’s CNN’s cable station in Turkey – was sold to an arm of the regime there.
Jeff Zucker’s network is now in effect in business with the authoritarian, Islamist, and highly anti-American Erdogan government. In Turkey, where it actually matters, CNN is literally state-run tv.
Zucker didn’t mention that in his remarks today weirdly. Not that much will change for CNN Turk. Zucker’s station already lovingly broadcasts every Erdogan speech in its entirety. It denies a platform to Turkey’s besieged opposition parties.
The channel has long trafficked in lunatic and anti-American conspiracy theory. CNN Turk once accused an American professor with no evidence at all of helping to orchestrate a failed 2016 coup against Erdogan. That’s a claim that, of course, echoes one of the Turkish government’s most emphatic talking points.
CNN Turk amplifies the hateful and xenophobic narrative of the Erdogan regime,” says one independent Turkish journalist. If the regime demands it, sometimes Jeff Zucker’s state TV channel doesn’t cover the news at all.
For example, in 2013, more than 8,000 pro-democracy protesters were injured protesting the Erdogan government. Jeff Zucker’s channel ignored the whole thing. “CNN Turk” ran a documentary on penguins instead.
So, how much is Jeff Zucker making in exchange for airing propaganda on behalf of a hostile foreign power? We put in a couple of calls to CNN to find out. They haven’t gotten back to us. Weirdly!
But Turkey is not the only country where CNN is state TV. Jeff Zucker runs a sleazy little sideline, selling airtime to repressive governments in a lot of places around the world.
For example, two years ago, Zucker announced CNN Philippines, “We are confident the Filipino audience is going to embrace CNN Philippines, Zucker said at the time. What Jeff Zucker didn’t say is that CNN Philippines is in part controlled by the government of Rodrigo Duterte whose death squads have killed tens of thousands of Filipinos. That’s Jeff Zucker’s business partner.
We could go on and on. What’s amazing is that few Americans know about any of this. Jeff Zucker has escaped the scrutiny of say RT, the cable channel that late last year was forced to register as an agent of a foreign government.
Yet, Jeff Zucker is also an agent of foreign governments. He takes their money, he runs their propaganda, he hides their internal repression and runs penguin videos instead.
Where else is Jeff Zucker doing this? Good question. Maybe we could use a congressional hearing or two to find out.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor