CNN ex-boss Jeff Zucker told staff not to probe ‘lab leak’ theory
CNN’s then-President Jeff Zucker told his staffers not to investigate the “laboratory leak theory” behind the origins of COVID-19, thinking it was a “Trump talking point,” according to a report.
A “well-placed” CNN insider told Fox News Digital on Monday that Zucker commanded in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.
“People are slowly waking up from the fog,” the insider told Fox News Digital.
“It’s a bit strange that we didn’t go after it harder.”
Mainstream news organizations, including CNN, The New York Times, MSNBC and others, have been pilloried in recent days after a recent government report concluded that an accidental leak from a Chinese laboratory is the most likely explanation for the COVID outbreak.
In the early weeks and months of the pandemic, prominent media personalities, public health officials and Democratic Party elected officials dismissed the “lablek” theory as “debunked” — and some suggested it was racist to even discuss the topic.
The Post has sought comment from CNN and Zucker.
One of Zucker’s charges following up on the warrant reported by his boss was Oliver Darcy, the network’s media reporter who wrote an item in the early days of the pandemic entitled, “Here’s How to Get Misinformation About the debunk coronavirus and conspiracy theories from friends and family.”
“While the coronavirus pandemic has isolated family and friends in their homes, in many cases it has increased online or telephone communication with loved ones,” Darcy wrote on March 28, 2020.
“But in some cases, family members and friends share bad information — whether it’s bad science related to the virus’s occurrence, debunked rumors about cities shutting down, or conspiracy theories about the origins of Covid-19,” he wrote. .
“While misinformation of any kind is not ideal, misinformation related to a public health crisis has a particularly dangerous element.”
Fareed Zakaria, the host of CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” said during a broadcast that “the far right has now found its own virus conspiracy theory” in discussing the lab leak.
Last week, Tom Elliott, an independent journalist, posted a Twitter thread featuring clips of MSNBC and CNN personalities dismissing the possibility of the lab leak as a “conspiracy theory.”
Under Zucker’s leadership, CNN became the news network most hostile to then-President Donald Trump.
During press conferences, Trump famously sparred with CNN correspondents, most notably Jim Acosta, the belligerent White House reporter.
Last year, Zucker was forced to step down as CNN president after it was revealed that he had a long-standing relationship with his top marketing executive, Allison Gollust.
Zucker has been replaced by Chris Licht, who was mandated by his bosses at corporate giant Warner Bros. Discovery to move the network away from partisan commentary and toward outright news stories.