CNN is arguably the most corrupt, tainted and unethical news organisation on the planet. It’s also the most successful. Those two sentences shouldn’t really sit comfortably together but the times we are living in are making such news giants go to remarkable lengths to stay on top. And it’s not just the network which follows the doctrine do whatever it takes to stay number one. It’s also CNN reporters.
Recently, mainstream media made a song and dance about an attractive blonde CNN staffer called Michelle Kosinski who is accused of both having an illicit affair with Britain’s most important ambassador in the world and extracting information out of him about Trump and key decisions the administration was about to make – leading to a number of ‘scoops’.
Kim Darroch is a particularly controversial ambassador, previously based in Washington DC and at the heart of the swamp. Darroch quit his prestigious Washington post in July last year after leaked cables revealed he had branded Trump ‘incompetent’ which made him immediately hated by the U.S. president.
Darroch also claimed the president ‘radiates insecurity’, telling British officials they need to ‘start praising him for something he’s done’ when they meet him.
Kosinski meanwhile left her post at CNN just five months later, according to her LinkedIn profile although it’s unclear whether CNN fired her, or she resigned.
Both Kosinski and Darroch were recently investigated by Department of Justice officials who, in the event, couldn’t prove the pillow talk allegations which started at the beginning of 2018.
Darroch really should be investigated though by the British government as the alleged love affair should have rung alarm bells in the Foreign Office in London, presenting a security threat not entirely dissimilar to the Profumo Affair in the 60s involving Christine Keeler, a call girl who slept with both the war minister and a senior Russian diplomat.
It’s alleged with the Kosinski-Darroch affair that a number of highly sensitive decisions taken by the U.S. and NATO about Russia were leaked to the CNN staffer who naturally denies the sex-for-scoops allegations.
In many ways though we shouldn’t be surprised by the scandal as British diplomats behaving badly is almost becoming so common that it might as well be a soap opera. In my personal experience, I have found the Foreign Office to be a rotten institution which protects its own and lies, cheats and feeds disinformation to UK newspaper editors to protect its own. Consequently, a new generation of ambassadors is starting to make the headlines for incompetence, buffoonery and serving their own interests and needs.
Did the UK government know about the affair? Almost certainly. Was it a security breach which could have led to British soldiers in hotspots around the world being compromised? Probably.
Keeping the British end up
But the story is really nothing new. CNN journalists offering sexual favours to important figures is certainly nothing out of the ordinary. In fact it is positively encouraged and worn by some reporters as a badge of honour.
Kosinski rants in her tweets that she was “doing her job” but this needs some context. As a former contracted freelance journalist working for CNN, I have seen the extraordinary lengths failing journalists will go to in the cutthroat world of Atlanta, just to stay relevant. In 2011, I worked with one such struggling producer who came to Morocco with clear intent to make up a story about the King here “clinging on to power”. When I refused to go along with the ruse, I was threatened. Eventually I was fired for being “difficult to work with” – which is coded CNN management jargon for “you’re a good journalist, so we can’t work with you and your annoying fact checking”.
Not only did “Lisa” (we shall call her) want to make up a story here in Morocco which was entirely false, but her protestation when I objected was quite revealing about the CNN ethos. She explained to me that it was entirely normal practice for the big names in Atlanta to make up “all their foreign reports” when they worked abroad, naming Anderson Cooper and CNN VP Parisa Khosravi as well as the khaki legend Christina Ammanpour.
Yet perhaps even more shocking was how the loud New Yorker proudly told me that she was sleeping with a UAE diplomat in Rabat, who was helping her no end with her Morocco report, while providing embassy car and other perks like food and perhaps even cash.
Indeed, providing sexual services to diplomats, it was explained to me, was really not a big deal. And it came with a number of benefits to help wannabe journalists like her. In Morocco she virtually had no expenses at all, which was both a benefit to her and Atlanta who finally ran her story which was littered with errors.
Weeks later she was actually promoted to become a fully fledged foreign correspondent on the strength of her ‘showreel’ report from Morocco.
Lisa was investigated, to my knowledge three times by CNN bosses for ‘unethical journalism’ until she was finally fired in December. She has been despatched to the lonesome world of DC obscurity of speaking events and the occasional interview on TV.
Bang Bang Club of CNN
Kosinski’s disgrace also probably led to her departure from CNN. According to her Linkedin profile, she is currently presenting a web TV show.
When she writes she was “doing her job” in getting scoops one has to wonder what she meant. Was she referring to this old practice of CNN staffers who can’t make the grade of joining the bang-bang club and doing the rounds on the diplomatic circuit? Just as Lisa was stung by a number of clumsy, unethical journalist stunts (like offering to help Hillary Clinton with a ruse) which finally caught up with her, Kosinski is never going to get over a 2005 one which showed her doing a live report in a canoe reporting on a flooding in New Jersey – which featured two individuals walking across her camera line in just a few centimetres of water as she sits in the boat. Oops.
Apparently, the stunt which massively backfired, only propelled her into the dizzy orbit of CNN, which, presumably, was impressed with her zeal to fake stories. Dirty diplomats and slutty female journalists ready to use their bodies as a dump zone for men twenty years their senior is the new norm.
Kosinski left CNN to present a web TV show called The Perfect Scam with Frank Abagnale, who was the real-life inspiration for the film ‘Catch Me If You Can’ played by the handsome Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCapprio.
Has Britain’s own top Ambassador been caught by a Democratic Party ‘honey trap’?