CNN was forced to retract a story linking President Donald Trump’s close ally Anthony Scaramucci with a particular investment fund and suggested the Senate was investigating that fund, according to a report from The New York Times.
Three CNN employees who worked on the story as part of the CNN Investigates team, including the executive editor, resigned over the matter. Other serious consequences followed closely behind.
While CNN has not said outright the story was false, the network has revealed that its internal processes had broken down when reviewing the story. It had relied on a single anonymous source, according to a report from The Washington Post.
Others, including Breitbart, argued that the CNN piece was “baseless” and that various elements of it were completely false.
For example, the CNN article wrongly connected the investment fund, RDIF, to the Russian state bank, Vneshconombank. This is a technicality but still an error.
As a result of this breakdown, CNN prevented the team from publishing anything until this situation could be addressed.
The final leg of CNN’s process includes review by the Triad, a three-prong team composed of fact-checkers, a legal team and a standards team. The legal team had looked at the retracted story and raised at least one concern which was never addressed.
Despite the unknown legal concern, the story was published. Soon Scaramucci’s team contacted CNN to complain. Scaramucci called “all hands on deck,” to assist in his rebuttal.
After this situation was reviewed, CNN limited the scope of the team responsible for the story. Each member has been told not to work on any story about the Trump administration’s possible connection to Russia.
When CNN Investigates was first introduced, CNN executive vice president Andrew Morse said the new team would “supercharge” the network’s investigative journalism.
Now the network’s president, Jeffery A. Zucker, has referred to the team in more modest terms.
“This year, CNN has gone even further, devoting additional time, talent and resources to an expanded investigative team. While there have been lessons learned along the way, one thing has remained constant — our unwavering commitment to this type of a work at a time when it has never been more important,” Zucker said.
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