Jeff Zucker, when he was president of CNN, prevented the network from investigating the COVID lab-leak theory and called it a “Trump talking point,” Fox News reported, citing a “well-placed CNN insider.”
“People are slowly waking up from the fog,” the insider said, according to Fox News. “It is kind of crazy that we didn’t chase it harder.”
Zucker — who resigned from CNN in February 2022 after failing to disclose a romantic relationship with another CNN senior executive — wouldn’t allow his network to look into the lab-leak theory because he believed it was a “Trump talking point,” Fox News added.
Fox News in its report said CNN didn’t respond to requests for comment.
This all comes as FBI Director Christopher Wray last week said the bureau long suspected a lab incident in Wuhan, China, as the source of the pandemic. The U.S. Department of Energy said the same thing prior to that.
In the early days of COVID, then-President Donald Trump intimated he’d seen evidence giving him a high degree of confidence that the virus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, adding, “Certainly it could have been stopped.”
Trump also blasted the World Health Organization for suggesting otherwise: “I think that the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves, because they’re like the public relations agency for China. … They shouldn’t be making excuses when people make horrible mistakes, especially mistakes that are causing hundreds of thousands of people around the world to die.”
Related to Fox News’ report was a Project Veritas story in late 2020 detailing leaked audio from CNN’s morning editorial calls showing Zucker and other top executives and reporters privately held anti-Trump sentiments — and that Zucker directed the network’s same public push.
How did CNN frame the COVID lab-leak theory?
Fox News noted that CNN on Feb. 18, 2020, said in a story that “it’s possible, yet unlikely, that the lab was connected to the start of the outbreak” and cited an infectious disease expert who declared, “I have seen no one provide any solid information to support that theory. I think at this point you can draw a line through it and say that didn’t happen.”
An April 2020 CNN headline, in reference to the lab-leak theory, read, “Nearly 30% in the US believe a coronavirus theory that’s almost certainly not true,” Fox News reported.
“Its origin is up for debate, but it wasn’t made in a lab,” CNN said, according to Fox News. “There’s still much we don’t know about the coronavirus pandemic, but virus experts agree on one piece of its origin story: The virus likely originated in a bat, not in a Chinese lab.”
More from Fox News:
On May 5, 2020, CNN published an analysis by Chris Cillizza, who has since been laid off from the network, headlined, “Anthony Fauci just crushed Donald Trump’s theory on the origins of the coronavirus.” The piece noted that Trump “has been making the case that the coronavirus originated not in nature but in a lab in Wuhan, China” but insisted Fauci’s claim that the virus likely originated naturally was more accurate.
“Now, before we play the game of ‘he said, he said’ remember this: Only one of these two people is a world-renowned infectious disease expert. And it’s not Donald Trump,” Cillizza wrote.
“In short, Fauci’s view on the origins of the disease matters a whole lot more than Trump’s opinion about where it came from,” he continued. “Especially because, outside of Trump and his immediate inner circle, most people in a position to know are very, very skeptical of the Trump narrative that the virus came out of a lab — whether accidentally or on purpose.”
You can read the entire Fox News report here.
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