Nolte: CNN’s Jeff Zucker Claims Another Soul – Carl Bernstein’s

CNN President Jeff Zucker (L) and reporter Carl Bernstein (R).
Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty, Brad Barket/Getty Images for The New Yorker

Imagine for just a moment you are Carl Bernstein. Here you sit, a 74-year-old living legend co-credited (and deservedly so) with uncovering the story of Nixon’s corrupt White House,  and you have made it this far, you have made it another 45-years without sullying your image, without pulling a Dan Rather, and then… you are caught lying — flat-out, straight-up lying.

Whatever you might think of Bernstein’s hysterical left-wing partisanship over the last two decades, his personal opinions, his need to preen now again, Carl Bernstein’s career as a journalist remained unsullied….

Until now, that is. Until last month, when…

Bernstein not only blew his biggest story in years (and CNN’s biggest story of the year), he was caught lying in that story. Almost exactly a month ago, Bernstein reported that President Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, would testify Trump knew in advance of the Trump Tower meeting. We now know that “bombshell” is not true, we now know Bernstein reported fake news.

If that is not bad enough, Bernstein (who shared a byline with former Obama official Jim Sciutto and Marshall Cohen) also lied in the piece. He intentionally misled the public with the false claim Lanny Davis, Cohen’s lawyer, refused comment on the story. The truth is that Davis was a source for the story.

Bernstein lied and now Bernstein is going to get away with it.

But the only reason — and this is important — Bernstein is going to get away with it is because he is Carl Bernstein. That is why CNN is circling the flaming wagons — to protect Carl Bernstein. That is why the rest of the media are laying off and are about to forget all about it — to protect Carl Bernstein. And that is what Bernstein is going to have to live with during what should have been the most golden of golden years: the fact he botched a major story, the fact he was caught lying in that major story, the fact that everyone knows he botched and lied, and the fact that he only got away with it because he is Carl Bernstein.

And when I ask you to imagine for a moment that you are Carl Bernstein, that’s the thing, that’s the thing I’m talking about, the fact that he is going to have to live with getting away with it.

Basically, Carl Bernstein is going to be the O.J. Simpson of journalism, the guy who spends the rest of his life participating in an exhausting charade where he and everyone else pretends he didn’t do something we all know he did.

What an awful way to live a life.

Seriously, think about it, think about how freeing the words “I’m sorry, I was wrong” are, how those five words release you from shame and hell, how they allow you a fresh start, to earn redemption, to exhale over a clean slate.

But Carl Bernstein is choosing to engage in a cover up, to pretend he did nothing wrong, and the corrupt institution in which he calls home — CNN and the establishment media — are going to let him get away with it and, by extension, deny him the gift that comes with an admission of guilt.

I’ll never forget the moment I realized CNN chief Jeff Zucker was collecting souls. It was August 18, 2014, and I simply could not believe my eyes as I watched a journalist I respected stand  in the middle of the city of Ferguson to try and reignite a riot.

Only after a terrible toll had the rioting in Ferguson ceased. Tensions, however, were still on a knife edge, and there was Jake Tapper — Jake freakin’ Tapper — consciously and deliberately feigning outrage, standing in the middle of a tinderbox to pour rhetorical gasoline all over someone else’s home town; shamelessly performing and grandstanding for the cameras, for attention, for fame, for a viral moment  against a police force guilty of nothing more than risking their own lives to protect other people’s property. Sadly, Tapper had not even begun to disgrace himself for whatever Zucker offers him in exchange.

Since then I have watched Zucker nail Alisyn Camerota’s soul to his will, and then Chris Cuomo’s, and now he’s got Carl Bernstein’s.

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has moral lapses. I have certainly been  guilty of both in my life. But you have to own up to them, which is tough. But owning up to what you have done is much easier than living your life as a disgrace while everyone around pretends you’re not.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


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