The self-proclaimed “most trusted name in news” has taken yet another massive hit.
The peddlers of very fake news defended their actions of staging a fake protest after a London terror attack, but this time they went a bridge too far.
CNN violated their own ethical standards when they published an anti-Trump story with insufficient sourcing.
The network was forced to pull the story from their website and issue an apology.
CNN late Friday deleted a story from its website that claimed Senate investigators were looking into a Russian investment fund whose chief executive met with a member of President Trump’s transition team, later issuing a retraction in the story’s place.
The now-deleted story, by investigative reporter Thomas Frank, was published Thursday and cited a single, unnamed source who claimed that the Senate Intelligence Committee was looking into a “$10-billion Russian investment fund whose chief executive met with a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team four days before Trump’s inauguration.”
But by Friday evening, the story had vanished from CNN’s website. It was not immediately clear when the story was removed, but a tweet linking to the story, from CNN’s Politics account, was also deleted sometime Friday evening.
After noticing the story’s disappearance, BuzzFeed News contacted CNN. More than an hour later, an editor’s note appeared on CNN’s website. A company representative sent BuzzFeed News a link to the note, but did not answer other questions about why the story was removed.
“The story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted,” the editor’s note said. It did not say which parts of the story failed to meet the company’s standards. The note also apologized to Anthony Scaramucci, a member of Trump’s transition team and an adviser to his presidential campaign, who was named in the report.
A source close to the network, who requested anonymity to discuss the matter, told BuzzFeed News the story was a “massive, massive f*** up and people will be disciplined.” The person said CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker and the head of the company’s human resources department are “directly involved” in an internal investigation examining how the story was handled.
The trouble didn’t stop there, as the massive blunder forced the network to change its standards on stories regarding Donald Trump and the Russia investigation.
From Red State:
While CNN frequently runs stories concerning the Russia probe that are proven utterly false in a matter of days, the alacrity and decisiveness of action indicates that CNN realized this story was so egregiously wrong that it was vulnerable to losing a libel suit.
The seriousness of the foul up has resulted in CNN management requiring all stories concerning “Russia” to be cleared by top management before they run. This one from CNN Money (which wasn’t touched by the scandal) Executive Editor Rich Barbieri was leaked.
If CNN Money is concerned enough to do this and if Jeff Zucker is personally involved in the damage control, you can bet other CNN business units have issued similar policies.
One, however, shouldn’t mistake CNN’s concern here as being anything more than damage control. The network’s editorial policy is obviously to do whatever it can to push any rumor or innuendo that it perceives will hurt either Trump, his family, his associates, or his administration.
Shortly after, the guillotine came down on the perpetrators of the fraudulent story.
CNN announced on Monday afternoon that three network officials are leaving their jobs over the incident: Frank, the reporter on the story; Eric Lichtblau, a recent CNN addition from the New York Times who edited the piece; and Lex Haris, the executive editor of “CNN Investigates.” The moves follow an investigation carried out by CNN executives over the weekend, with the conclusion that longstanding network procedures for publishing stories weren’t properly followed. “There was a significant breakdown in process,” says a CNN source. “There were editorial checks and balances within the organization that weren’t met.”
The official CNN statement: “In the aftermath of the retraction of a story published on CNN.com, CNN has accepted the resignations of the employees involved in the story’s publication.”
The people getting the ax should tell you just how bad the story was. These are not nameless interns or low level writers. These are major names.
Nor is the Russia-Scaramucci story the only recent CNN black eye. In advance of former FBI Director James Comey’s Senate testimony, CNN used four bylines — Gloria Borger, Eric Lichtblau, Jake Tapper and Brian Rokus — to report that Comey would contradict Trump’s claims that the fired FBI chief had told him that he wasn’t a target of an investigation. Instead, the opposite turned out to be the case: Comey confirmed those claims of Trump. The story piled poor editorial judgment on top of faulty reporting, in that there was little merit in predicting Comey’s testimony a day or two before he gave it. A CNN source insists that the Comey-prediction screwup was “not connected” to its handling of the Russia-Scaramucci episode. “That said, we have to play error-free ball,” says the source.
Note that one of the bylines in the story cited above belongs to one of the guys fired over the Scaramucci story…
What is funny about the story, other than just about everything, is the utterly craven statement issued by Lex Haris, one of those dismissed, as reported, of all places, on CNN’s website:
“On Friday, CNN retracted a story published by my team. As Executive Editor of that team, I have resigned,” Haris said in a statement. “I’ve been with CNN since 2001, and am sure about one thing: This is a news organization that prizes accuracy and fairness above all else. I am leaving, but will carry those principles wherever I go.”
This sounds like the victims of Stalin’s show trials who, as they were sentenced to death, proclaimed their love of and devotion to Stalin…
Out of all the major cable news outlets, CNN is already the least trusted, per a recent survey.
Stories like this certainly won’t help their foundering credibility.
The network is at a crossroads. It’s on the frontline of the #Resistance movement, but the Russia narrative is falling apart by the day.
CNN will have to find a new angle for their anti-Trump propaganda—considering their anti-Trump obsession which was proven empirically true by research data—or they may actually have to start reporting the news in a credible way.