Exclusive — Steve Cortes: CNN Treated Me ‘Terribly,’ ‘Rude as Could Be,’ ‘Even Worse Off-Air Than On-Air’


Steve Cortes, former CNN contributor and current co-host of Newsmax’s Cortes & Pellegrino, told Breitbart News on Monday that CNN repeatedly provided him with inaccurate show notes prior to his appearances on the network during the 2016 presidential election season in order to undermine his political analysis and commentary.

“CNN is even worse off-air than on-air,” Cortes stated in an interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow.

Marlow asked, “How did [CNN] treat you while you were there?”

Cortes replied, “Honestly? Terribly, just to put it bluntly. Yeah, terrible. They were as rude as could be, They are — believe it or not — CNN is even worse off-air than on-air in terms of their commitment to their narrative. They truly believe that they’re on a sort of holy war against what they deem as xenophobic nationalistic racism, and that’s really, truly what they believe we represent.”

CNN’s operators view their political mission as virtuous, Cortes held.

He said, “They’ve convinced themselves that they’re on some noble quest, and because of that, they also think that the ends justify the means, that they can use any tactic — no matter how dishonest, no matter how deceptive — any tactic to try to defang, as they would probably view it, the America First movement. Unfortunately, I got a front-row seat to a lot of that treachery behind the scenes, and I can tell the listeners out there that it’s even worse than they might have guessed.”

Cortes shared that CNN sent him fake show notes ahead of segments he was scheduled to appear on while sending proper show notes to other contributors and guests.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo and Chris Cuomo attend a screening of "RX: Early Detection A Cancer Journey With Sandra Lee" during the 2018 Tribeca Film Festiva at SVA

Then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) and his brother Chris Cuomo, host of CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time,  attend a screening during the 2018 Tribeca Film Festiva, April 26, 2018, in New York City. (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

“I’ll give you an example of the dishonesty to be specific,” Cortes remarked. “They would send out notes before the show, and this is very typical for really any show, certainly in cable news or any news show, period. You send out notes to everybody who’s going to be involved in the segment. ‘Here are the topics we’re going to discuss. Here are sound bites we’re going to play,’ and that’s just normal standard operating procedure. I worked for Fox News before CNN. I am now a host at Newsmax. The same note at normal networks goes to everybody, okay? You don’t edit the note. You don’t send out two different versions.”

He continued, “At CNN, there were two different versions. There was one sent to everybody else, and then one sent to me, and the one sent to me didn’t have very much information, or it would have incorrect information. ‘We’re going to talk about X,’ when in fact, we’re going to actually talk about Y. They would always claim, ‘Oh, that was a mistake.’ It wasn’t a mistake. It was clear.”

“Even though I worked for them, it was this weird situation where I was being paid by CNN, and yet they were constantly trying to make me look foolish,” he added, “constantly trying to fool me about … the topic we were talking about. They never succeeded, thankfully. I just did my homework. Most of the time, by the way, could you could relatively well guess what they were going to talk about, whatever they thought was most embarrassing to President Trump that day. But the tactics behind the scenes were even more dishonest than what you see on screen, which is saying something because what you see on screen is pretty risible.”

CNN moderator Don Lemon speaks to the crowd attending the Democratic Presidential Debate at the Fox Theatre July 31, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. 20 Democratic presidential candidates were split into two groups of 10 to take part in the debate sponsored by CNN held over two nights at Detroit’s Fox Theatre. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CNN moderator Don Lemon speaks to the crowd attending the Democratic Presidential Debate at the Fox Theatre, July 31, 2019, in Detroit, Michigan. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CNN markets itself as a politically objective and non-partisan news media outlet. It previously branded itself “the most trusted name in news.”

Breitbart News Daily broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.


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