Three reporters have resigned from CNN following the release of a false news story last week which linked a Trump associate to a Russian hedge fund. The story, as it turns out, was entirely false, but it stayed alive on CNN’s website for several days, and then suddenly disappeared causing the news organization to make an official retraction and apology.

The Washington Post picks up the story:

The CNN exclusive — which hung from one unnamed source — didn’t take long to wither. Breitbart News’s Matthew Boyle bombed the CNN piece as baseless. Sputnik News published a refutation, indicating that the fund was not a part of Russian state bank Vnesheconombank, as the CNN report had claimed. This detail mattered a great deal, considering that Vnesheconombank was listed in a set of sanctions issued by the U.S. government. According to the CNN report, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe into this matter was linked to the meeting between top Trump adviser/son-in-law Jared Kushner and Vnesheconombank CEO Sergey Gorkov during the presidential transition.

The screw-up was so bad, that some heads are rolling at CNN:

Now for the consequences. 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.”

Regarding the personnel changes, a CNN source said, “The individuals all stated that they accepted responsibility and wanted to resign.” A compelling wrinkle in the saga of the story springs from the careful language in the editor’s note: “That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled. CNN apologizes to Mr. Scaramucci,” it reads. CNN is not bailing on all the factual representations in the story, however. “We pulled it down not because we disproved it,” says a CNN source, adding that there was “enough concern” on some factual points that “given the breach in process, we decided to pull it down.”

I can’t think of a worse situation for CNN, which has battled the Trump administration over Russian ties, than to be caught red-handed peddling a false “Russia” story. When the term “fake news” was coined concerning false stories circulating around social media that could have been harmful to Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump quickly usurped the term and started applying it to CNN, and any other organization that was publishing critical stories of him.

With this incident, CNN has almost become a caricature of itself, so quick to publish anything along the lines of the Russia narrative that they got burned by a single source and information that couldn’t be verified.

What’s worth nothing is that CNN retracted the story itself, but they did not retract the fact that they believe there is a connection between Trump associated Anthony Scaramucci, and the Russian hedge fund. The thing is, they just can’t prove it and/or prove that anything nefarious is going on, so the story was pulled.

News agencies often make corrections or updates, we do so from time to time right here in the interest of providing factual information. However, so rarely is a full story retracted and apologies issued to the parties impugned that when it does happen, it becomes the news.

Update

CNN was facing a possible $100 million lawsuit, which could have been a driving force in retracting the story:

The specter of a $100 million libel suit scared CNN into retracting a poorly reported story that slimed an ally of President Trump’s — and forcing out the staffers responsible for it, The Post has learned.

The cable network’s coverage of Trump transition team member Anthony Scaramucci came amid federal scrutiny of corporate parent Time Warner’s pending purchase by AT&T — and the widespread belief among media execs that CNN President Jeff Zucker can’t survive a merger.

CNN immediately caved after Scaramucci, a financier and frequent network guest, cried foul and threatened to take legal action, sources said Tuesday.

9 COMMENTS

  1. To me, the real story is CNN’s reaction. They lost THREE PEOPLE over one small story. Obviously, they take integrity very seriously.

    Yes, the reporter should have verified, the editor should have demanded verification, and the supervisor should have seen that the process was followed–on every story. They have three levels to assure verity on every one of many, many stories. They missed this one.

    Let’s note that this was NOT “fake news.” If story said, “a source said,” they were just reporting what was said–the claim–not that the claim was true.

    That’s an important distinction. What WE report here is what was said by others–we do NOT claim that what is said by them is true.

    • Hun. I’m sure I miss read your comment. Certainly You didn’t say CNN reported a false news and you don’t see anything wrong with it did you? They knew it was false for too long and that’s not wrong?

      • CNN did NOT report fake news. They just didn’t get appropriate documentation for a story they still think may be true. And, anyway, they didn’t report it as fact, anyway, they simply reported that “a source said”–which is 100% true.

        And despite the “update,” CNN did NOT “retract” the story. they simply removed it from their website (it was never broadcast).

        When you’re faced with a lawsuit from fat cats with deep pockets, you find that “discretion is the better part of valor.”

  2. CNN and other liberal news organizations are salivating so to prove that the big bad Russian BOOGIE MAN and President Trump did something nefarious that they are willing to forgo any type of journalistic ethics.?

    It is surprising to me that these three resigned their jobs. CNN has been consistently barraging President Trump and his administration from day one. Except for some flimsy facts against the administration and they were tenuous at best, most stories have been FAKE NEWS. I wonder, what harm would one more lie be to their growing list of lies.?

  3. The 100 million dollar lawsuit might have been a motivational tool for an apology. Update please.

    • There are a lot of fake lawsuits in this country, with outrageous claims. Some people think a ridiculous amount of the suit means there’s merit to the case.

      The parties always settle for a lot less, because, as John Travolta said in the movie, “A Civil Action,” if a lawsuit proceeds, the loser is the one who comes to his senses first.

      There was no apology. In fact, even after the settlement, CNN did not say the story was wrong, only that they were unable to substantiate it.

      • An outright apology would have set them up for a definite loss in the court room. It would have been like entering a guilty plea.
        A source of mine told me that you work for CNN and are part of the ANTIFA movement. They also stated that the ownership had transferred yet again and some changes are going to take place soon.
        ?
        *I can’t lie.. I have no source. I am nothing like CNN. Who love the ratings built on lies.

        • You lost me. It appears that you made a claim about CNN and ANTIFA, but then retracted it, saying you didn’t have any source.

          If that was supposed to illustrate the danger of false information, it didn’t. First, I laughed when you said you had a source. But then you admitted that you lied about having a source.

          That is not at all like the CNN situation. They DID have a source. They repeated what the source said–carefully pointing out that it was from “a source.” When someone objected, CNN investigated themselves. Yes, there was a source, and yes, the source did say that–which is all they reported.

          But even then, they had three people resign–not because the story was wrong–but because they didn’t have sufficient evidence that it was right (even though they only reported what was said). There was NO retraction. The fact that a source said something was apparently totally true.

          • 1. I’m a horrible liar. Even when I am writing.. mainly 2. I just wanted to prove a point.
            3. How do you know what the intention of CNN was and if they accurately described the now 100% fake information from the “source”.
            Project Viertas is doing a great piece on CNN. Look it up. They are losing their credibility. They are no longer balanced. They no longer honest or credible because they relied so much on “sources”.

            Maybe you should take a step back?
            John Stossel did a great piece on how the msm & DNC manipulated the people.
            I hope you watch it.

            https://youtu.be/wSGtjs3pIig

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