CNN Technical Director Charlie Chester explains the logic behind his network’s COVID-19 death toll counter in a sting video Project Veritas released on Wednesday. CNN has capitalized on “panic porn” during the pandemic, promoting fear in a way that Chester said bumps up ratings.
“COVID? Gangbusters with ratings, right? Which is why we [CNN] constantly have the [COVID-19] death toll on the side, which I have a major problem with – with how we’re tallying how many people die every day,” Chester says in the video.
He explains a perverse incentive regarding the numbers. “Like, why isn’t it high enough, you know, today? Like, it would make our point better if it was higher. And I’m like, what am I f***ing rallying for? That’s a problem that we’re doing that.”
The director explains that CNN is capitalizing on fear. “It’s fear. Fear really drives numbers [when it comes to TV ratings] … Fear is the thing that keeps you tuned in.”
Chester says that he has gotten CNN to take the death toll counter down, but then the “bat phone” rang and CNN President Jeff Zucker demanded the network restore the death toll.
“The special red phone rings and this producer picks it up. You hear [murmurs], and every so often they put it on speaker and it’s the head of the network being like, ‘There’s nothing that you’re doing right now that makes me want to stick. Put the [COVID death toll] numbers back up, because that’s the most enticing thing that we had. So, put it back up.’”
Chester also confesses that CNN drives the narrative, asking leading questions in order to get people to say what the network wants them to say.
“Any reporter on CNN — what they’re actually doing is they’re telling the person what to say… It’s always like leading them in a direction before they even open their mouths,” he says. “The only people that we [CNN] will let on the air, for the most part, are people that have a proven track record of taking the bait.”
Chester also confesses that his network focuses on “doom and gloom.”
“No one ever says those things out loud, but it’s obvious based on the amount of stories that we [CNN] do,” he says. “The fact that we have a segment called ‘The Good Stuff’, which is a feel-good thing, but it’s a dedicated moment at the end to almost be the ice cream to alleviate everything that you’ve been through. Something sweet to end it with, because everything else is doom and gloom.”
On Tuesday, Project Veritas released the first in this latest string of CNN sting videos, in which Chester admits his network ran “propaganda” in order to get Trump “voted out” of office. Chester bragged that if it hadn’t been for CNN’s biased coverage, Joe Biden would not have won the election.
Many factors contributed to Biden’s election victory in 2020, perhaps most notably the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which directed cash to deep-blue urban areas, driving up turnout. Yet a Media Research Center survey found that the legacy media’s suppression of eight key news stories — most notably the Hunter Biden laptop documents that implicate Joe Biden in his son’s notorious foreign business deals — may have made the crucial difference.
In a very real sense, Chester may be correct about CNN’s impact on the 2020 election, and that’s terrifying. A judge recently warned that leftist media bias is a threat to democracy. Perhaps he understated his case.