Project Veritas released a new video on November 16, 2021, featuring an interview with CBS San Antonio [KENS 5] whistleblower, Brett Mauser, who exposed his colleagues and outside corporate partners for promoting a political ideology rather than objective journalism in the newsroom.
In one instance, Christina Karaoli Taylor, CKT Cultural Strategies’ Multicultural Competency Trainer, was brought in to train CBS San Antonio journalists and defined the expectations.
“Much of what we’re gonna talk about today is going to center around the main code of ethics of journalism. And a couple things -- during this workshop and throughout your day, I challenge you to stop thinking in terms of objective journalism. We’ll discuss why that’s not really feasible anymore. But [think] in terms of accuracy, fairness, and transparency -- always striving for objectivity is not feasible,” Taylor said.
“That was the one that blew my mind. Teaching journalists at a national level, ‘Don’t be objective.’ To me, that was what journalism always was: to be objective. In my mind, if journalism is not objective, it’s not journalism -- it’s propaganda,” Mauser said.
Ron Treviño, who serves as one of CBS Houston’s [KHOU] most experienced and main news anchors, was recorded admitting that he is indifferent about conveying trust to the public through his reporting.
“I don’t really care if people trust us or not, we still have to do our job. Whether they trust us is the least of my concerns -- whether they trust me or not,” Treviño said.
“To me that seems like -- that’s part of the job. That you need trust to be able to do your job. Your job is to inform. If you can’t trust who you’re getting the news from -- you’re not doing your job,” Mauser said in response to watching Treviño’s statement.
On another occasion, Tegna’s Chief Diversity Officer, Grady Tripp, can be seen describing how employees should be evaluated more heavily on their adherence to a political ideology rather than their skillset in journalism. Tegna is the parent company of CBS San Antonio and CBS Houston, along with 62 other news stations across the country.
“At this point, if you’re not listening to a podcast, or looking at a video, or reading any of the information that’s out as far as equality and social justice and race, you don’t care…The other thing is we’re going to be holding stations accountable, right? We’re going to be holding stations accountable because we know it’s important to the organization. KPIs [Key Performance Indicators] are going to change, right? KPIs are going to reflect diversity and inclusion from a representation standpoint,” Tripp said.
“It’s about the narrative. It’s about pushing an agenda,” Mauser said to Project Veritas founder and CEO James O’Keefe in response to watching Tripp. “It feels almost threatening, doesn’t it?”
Mauser expressed concern for the state of journalism in the United States after witnessing these behaviors at CBS San Antonio on a regular basis.
“This mindset has been able to grow and infect what was supposed to be the fourth pillar of society. The journalists are supposed to be our watchdogs. They’re the ones that are supposed to be protecting us from tyranny and supposed to be going out there and finding out and giving us the truth,” he said.
“I would tell people -- my friends, family -- you can’t trust the news. ‘You’re being manipulated. Well, how do you know? I work in the news!’”
Mauser explained to O’Keefe why he decided to come forward to Project Veritas.
“I don’t want to destroy the news. I don’t want anybody to get fired. I want people to change and realize that they are supposed to be objective. They are being told by another company and by their parent company to ‘not be objective’ -- to be divisive. I just want them [CBS San Antonio] to admit they have a problem.”
In response, CBS San Antonio made the following statement when asked for comment:
“These assertions by a former employee are a severe misunderstanding of what valuing inclusivity, diversity and equity in a newsroom means. This lack of understanding is exactly why we’re doing this training. A non-news employee secretly taped inclusivity training where our journalists were given tools and information and shared perspectives on how we can better serve all our audience. A journalist’s job is to present the truth and report the facts, not cater to opinions. Our inclusivity program makes our journalism stronger, particularly for communities that have not been well-served by our industry. We will continue this important work.”