The media fracas began after Project Veritas published audio recordings which appear to show CNN staff, including president Jeff Zucker, discussing editorial matters during daily morning briefings. In one verbal exchange, a man Project Veritas identified as CNN’s digital vice president of global programming, Marcus Mabry, railed against the “naked racism of Tucker Carlson.” The CNN executive went on to denounce Carlson’s program as “sort of the white supremacy hour they have on Fox News every night.”
Apparently responding to the smear, Carlson mentioned Mabry in a segment that aired on Tuesday night. During the program, the Fox host accused Mabry, who is black, of having an extremely privileged background, even as the CNN executive bemoans the lack of “inclusion” in the media. However, it doesn’t appear that Carlson ever made direct reference to the audio clips released by Project Veritas.
CNN threatened legal action over the Project Veritas story, and also claimed that the scoop suffered from serious reporting errors.
“James & Tucker, the voice you ID’d tonight as ‘Marcus Mabry’ is actually GA resident & CNN General Counsel David Vigilante. We’re certain you’ll want to correct the record and apologize to the Black executive for assuming he was the voice raising concerns over white supremacy,” the network’s communications team tweeted at the Fox host and James O’Keefe, Project Veritas’ founder.
But Carlson’s own PR team took issue with the call-out, describing it as a “lie.”
“We never ID’d any voice or aired audio recordings of CNN executives. Check out tonight’s segment which is of Marcus Mabry on camera. Facts First, right?” they responded.
From Tucker Carlson Tonight PR: This is a lie. We never ID'd any voice or aired audio recordings of CNN executives. Check out tonight's segment which is of Marcus Mabry on camera. Facts First, right? https://t.co/zeBNaF99a3
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) December 2, 2020
CNN’s call for an apology from Carlson was flooded with comments that made similar observations.
Journalist Ryan Saavedra said it was false to claim Carlson had “misidentified Marcus Mabry,” noting that his segment never even mentions the Project Veritas recordings.
Tucker Carlson's segment did not have anything to do with the clip that CNN is referencing
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) December 2, 2020
Others accused CNN of invoking race to cover up allegations of its own journalistic malpractice.
Several observers pointed out that while Project Veritas may have misattributed remarks made in the audio recordings, it was wrong for CNN to demand a correction from Carlson.
You didn’t say anything but James O’Keefe absolutely made that claim. They shouldn’t have blamed you, though. pic.twitter.com/immlc97tC5
— Ally Warren (@Allys_Warren) December 2, 2020
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