While Bill Cosby’s Lawyer Blames CNN, We Might Blame the System

cnn don lemon bill cosby

More than 20 women have come forward to accuse the Cos of sexual assault. Countless interviews have been requested and all have been denied. The first time Bill Cosby came forward to say anything was when he thanked Whoopi Goldberg and Jill Scott via Twitter.

Much to Cosby’s chagrin, professionals at certain national networks who allegedly do “news” for a living have been talking about it.

The comedian’s lawyer is a little miffed that the news cycle keeps on rolling past his brownstone, which is why he sent CNN President Jeff Zucker a letter accusing the network of setting out to tarnish his client’s reputation.

The legal brief sent by Cosby representative Martin Singer (later stolen from the trash and posted by TMZ) is a vitriolic statement claiming that CNN is essentially out to get Bill Cosby and malign his custom sweaters:

“We continue to be shocked by CNN’s ongoing refusal to investigate and run balanced stories about my client while airing untested stories from accusers who have seemingly been subject to little or no vetting. CNN takes the opposite approach and with anyone who comes forward with information undermining accusers’ claims or with relevant information supporting Mr. Cosby.”

According to Yahoo News, the letter stemmed from the time when Beverly Johnson came forward with accusations that Cosby drugged her during an audition for The Cosby Show in the mid-80s in an essay for Vanity Fair.

In the aforementioned hate mail to Zucker, Singer said that “CNN decided not to use an interview with Johnson’s live-in boyfriend from 2006-2009, Mark Burk, because he did not corroborate her story of being drugged by the Cosby Show star for an upcoming special planned by the cable news network.”


This nastygram calls CNN out, but it might as well be a comment on all media and the ever-more-urgent race to be first on everything:

“This reckless approach to ‘journalism’ is outrageous,” the attorney wrote. “Accusers are being given a national platform by CNN without first exercising the most rudimentary journalistic investigation as to their claims and motivations. In contrast, CNN disregards and attacks sources with anything positive to say about my client or with relevant information undermining allegations that have been made.”

Singer’s attempt to protect Cosby is a thin veil ready to be ripped in half, but he’s right that network news is more a ratings game than a “getting it right the first time” game.

Unfortunately, his client’s problems go far deeper than ethics in journalism.

Publish date: December 23, 2014 https://stage.adweek.com/digital/while-bill-cosbys-lawyer-blames-cnn-we-might-blame-the-system/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT