CNN 2017 undercover videos controversy

In June 2017, conservative political activist James O'Keefe released a series of undercover videos that show CNN staffers criticizing CNN's coverage of the Donald Trump-Russia connection.
O'Keefe has built a reputation for making selectively and deceptively edited videos and audios whose purpose is to smear left and left-leaning groups and individuals, and has been convicted of phone tampering.
Hidden camera recordings and video releases
John Bonifield
On June 26, 2017, James O'Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, published secretly-recorded conversations between an undercover staffer and John Bonifield, producer of health and medical stories for CNN. Bonifield is seen criticizing CNN's coverage of the Donald Trump-Russia connection, claiming that CNN's coverage of Trump boosts its ratings and that the Trump-Russia connection is "mostly bullshit". In the same video, Bonifield, who is not part of the network's political coverage team, also states that he has not come across enough evidence to incriminate Trump and that Trump may be right in saying that there is a "witch-hunt" targeting him. Bonifield also said that Jeff Zucker, the CEO of CNN, said in a meeting: "Just to give you some context, President Trump pulled out of the climate accords and for a day and a half we covered the climate accords. And the CEO of CNN (Jeff Zucker) said in our internal meeting, he said good job everybody covering the climate accords, but we’re done with that, let’s get back to Russia."
The video identified Bonifield as a "supervising producer", deceptively suggesting that he had a senior decision making role. The editing of the video also did not reveal that Bonifield was speaking in a personal capacity and that he is unconnected to CNN's political coverage.
Van Jones
Part 2 of the series showed CNN commentator Van Jones saying "the Russia thing is just a big nothing burger" during an undercover conversation with a Project Veritas reporter. In the past, Van Jones has downplayed the possibility of collusion between Trump and Russia in his commentary (although he has said he's glad it's being investigated) and has stated that it's not something Democrats should focus on.
CNN response
In a statement, CNN said it "stands by" Bonifield and supports its employees expressions of personal opinion.
When inquired by The Daily Beast on the second undercover video, a CNN spokesperson responded "LOL" (internet acronym for laughing out loud).
Response by government and state authorities
On 28 June 2017, both videos were posted on Donald Trump's official Instagram account.
Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders advised during a White House press briefing "everybody across the country to take a look at it" "whether it's accurate or not".<ref name="latimes" /><ref name="business" />
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