Yesterday, CNN pulled what was promoted as a major story from the its website, disabled all links to the story, and issued an apology to the subject, Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci. The ostensible reason was that the story failed to meet CNN’s editorial standards… which tells you all you need to know about how bad the story was.
BuzzFeed reported that CNN honcho Jeff Zucker was personally leading the investigation, an act that can only be interpreted as desperately trying to head off a multi-million dollar lawsuit.
This evening the heads started bouncing.
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.”
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.
I hate seeing people get fired but CNN has deteriorated to the point where there is literally no lie they will not tell if they think it will damage the Trump administration and get clicks.
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 and another is Jake Tapper who, for reasons that escapes me, has reduced a lot of alleged conservatives to a fanboi status that borders on homoeroticism.
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… like Winston Smith professing his love for Big Brother.