Topic: Media Research Center
The portrayal of a Jewish leader has a puppet master is an anti-Semitic trope that has been around for centuries. The Media Research Center has done so quite literally in attacking George Soros, depicting him as "the media's puppet master" to scare a few bucks out of gullible conservatives. The MRC has even declared Soros as a Jew conservatives are permitted to hate, pre-emptively absolving them of anti-Semitism in doing so.
But the MRC -- specifically, NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck -- has been portraying another prominent Jewish leader as a "puppet master": CNN president Jeff Zucker.
The first time Houck did this was in a March 2018 post, in which he complained that "CNN president and puppet-master Jeff Zucker ripped the Fox News Channel (FNC) as 'state-run TV' and 'pure propaganda machine' that 'does an incredible disservice to this country.'" His purported justification of this was "an April 2017 New York Times Magazine profile of Zucker. In it, Zucker was exposed as a puppet-master choreographing big interviews and feeding questions in the ears of Anderson Cooper and Jake Tapper. Down to the analysts, commentators, and Trump coverage, Zucker has behaved like a ringmaster with political panels and Trump controversies framed like a primetime drama."
It can be argued that, in this respect, Zucker is no different from Fox News founder Roger Ailes, who did much the same thing there (and, yes, was called a puppet master). Yet you'll never hear Houck or anyone else at the MRC describe Ailes in that manner; indeed, a 2015 post by Tim Graham complained that he was described that way.
Yet Houck persisted in tagging Zucker with the epithet:
- Somehow, CNN and puppetmaster Jeffrey Zucker thought it would be a smart idea to move New Day co-host Chris Cuomo, punishing those of us who stay up late. -- May 11, 2018
- In nearly 14 minutes, CNN showed why the network run by puppetmaster Jeffrey Zucker was not only hostile to those not willing to endorse the network’s views (snarky chyrons and all) but views them as their enemy and thus must be silenced. -- Aug. 5, 2019
- Not to be left out, Hannity had a little something for CNN puppetmaster Jeffrey Zucker, wondering if he’s“proud of this political hit job putting a [sic] operative's life in danger...to help Obama sycophant, this guy, Jim Sciutto, whoever he is.” -- Sept. 11, 2019
- After the show’s last commercial break, Carlson brought up one of the many Project Veritas videos released this week which pertained to CNN boss/puppetmaster Jeff Zucker insisting his network would be focused on impeachment no matter what. -- Oct. 17, 2019
- And even better yet, he live-streamed Tuesday’s meeting and jumped in to reveal himself to CNN boss and puppetmaster Jeff Zucker. -- Dec. 2, 2020
- As we learned Tuesday in the Project Veritas videos, CNN puppetmaster Jeff Zucker was feeling his oats because, somehow, the network’s sophomoric chyrons need to be nastier. -- Dec. 2, 2020
- In an email to CNN employees, CNN head, “Dwarf King,” and puppetmaster Jeff Zucker announced the decision, citing a “steep decline in airport traffic because of COVID-19, coupled with all the new ways that people are consuming content on their personal devices.”-- Jan. 13, 2021
Hand in hand with this slur is the MRC's portrayal -- again by Houck, with help from fellow MRC writer Nicholas Fondacaro and others -- dismissing CNN employees as "Zuckerbots," automatons incapable of doing their jobs without constant guidance from their "puppet master":
- As my colleague Nick Fondacaro likes to suggest, CNN anchors and analysts have morphed into Zuckerbots. To see what he's talking about, check out a New York Times Magazine profile of CNN under Zucker and you'll see why. For CNN under Zucker, so much of their coverage and outbursts is staged and all about theater. -- Houck, Feb. 15, 2018
- Stelter concluded by stressing that “there are ethical questions about even having this conversation at all.” This Zuckerbot appeared all too eager to throw those “ethical questions” aside as he declared “we can’t tiptoe around it anymore.” -- Ryan Foley, Aug. 26, 2019
- And in the other case, the Zuckerbots paint all other forms of media criticism as akin to leveling death threats. -- Houck, Oct. 10. 2019
- Unfortunately, CNN’s Zuckerbots weren’t interested in this point of view.-- Houck, Oct. 21, 2019
- Earth to Zuckerbots, far and wide: Since when was someone above criticism? And especially skepticism toward those that you cover? -- Houck, Nov. 19, 2019
- There’s no bottom for CNN and Jeffrey Zucker puppet Brian Stelter. ... Predictably, the Zuckerbot’s insinuation about FNC and its viewers was picked up like clockwork by both Axios and The Daily Beast. -- Houck, Aug. 3, 2020
- Tuesday afternoon’s CNN Newsroom brought us another example of how personalties on the Jeffrey Zucker-led network and his puppets were anything but civil, fair, mature, serious, and sober. ... So let’s try to get through some of this. After stacking the deck with a lead-in from former conservative journalist-turned-Zuckerbot Kaitlan Collins, Keilar asked Schlapp why Trump trusted Florida’s voter system but not the rest of the country. -- Houck, Aug. 4, 2020
- Swoon for her “dystopian” vision of America, the Zuckerville collective praised it by calling on violent rhetoric; touting her as going “for the jugular” against President Trump. ... The Zuckerbots were glorifying Obama’s bleak vision of America because that was the narrative they’ve been feeding their viewers for years now, and they needed to capitalize on it during the election. -- Fondacaro, Aug. 18, 2020
- Of course, chief political correspondent Dana Bash completely agreed like the good Zuckerbot that she was. -- Fondacaro, Oct. 22, 2020
- With this Zuckerbot refusing to acknowledge the sacrifices that involve serving in law enforcement, McEnany was left to remind him that they help keep him safe[.] -- Houck, Dec. 28, 2020
- CNN alsomade a slew of other personnel moves, including the promotion of conservative journalist-turned-Zuckerbot Kaitlan Collins to Acosta’s title, moving Phil Mattingly and Biden suck-up Arlette Saenz to the White House beat, Abby Phillip to host Sunday’s Inside Politics, and “adult” Jake Tapper’s The Lead permanently expanding to two hours (after having been so in the election build-up). -- Houck, Jan. 11, 2021
- Back when S.E. Cupp wasn’t a glorified Democrat and Zuckerbot, she had an HLN show that didn’t treat conservatives, Republicans, libertarians, and any non-lefty as enemies. -- Houck, Jan. 20, 2021
Houck, Fondacaro and the rest of thte MRC crew would never similarly describe Fox News employees as "Ailes-bots." (Or, say, themselves as Bozellbots.)
It says somethibng about Houck's near-pathological hatred for CNN that he is either oblivious or uncaring about depicting Zucker with such an ugly anti-Semitic trope and smearing CNN employees as the victims of a Jewish "puppet master."