Tuesday, June 27, 2017

CNN Blew It

I'm not sure why I passed over the CNN story that got retracted, but there was something about it that didn't capture my corruption meter. (Apparently didn't seem that "compelling" to me.) At any rate, if you didn't read it, don't bother.  It had flaws.
Thomas Frank, a reporter for “CNN Investigates,” last Thursday appeared to have a compelling exclusive on the story of the year. The Senate Intelligence Committee, reported Frank, was investigating a Russian investment fund — the Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) — “whose chief executive met with a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team four days before Trump’s inauguration.”

That transition team official is Anthony Scaramucci, a Wall Streeter who was expected to take a prominent White House position but did not.


The CNN exclusive — which hung from one unnamed source — didn’t take long to wither.

It seems it was the article's connection of the RDIF to the Russian state bank Venesheconombank (which has in the past been under US sanctions) that was inaccurate.

CNN was forced to issue an apology and a retraction of the story, and as tRump tweeted, three CNN employees were forced to resign over this debacle: "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.'"
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.


Critics will long cite this episode as evidence that CNN is precisely what Trump has called it — “fake news.”

Perhaps they should.

Any further Russia stories put out by CNN have to be vetted by CNNMoney executive editor Rich Barbieri and Vice President of Premium Content Video Jason Farkas.

It's amazing to me that people in a news organization as large and prominent as CNN would ever run with a story on one source.  I'm guessing that source will be persona non grata at CNN.  At least, I hope.  I suppose it's possible that Frank didn't even reveal his source to his employers.

Scaramucci, to his credit, issued a statement accepting the CNN apology and brushing off the "mistake":

The Rump, however...

And, actually, I think Scaramucci had every right to be a lot more damning of CNN.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

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