3 Journalists Leave CNN for Publishing Unverified Trump/Russia Hit Piece

 

The DC press corps, desperate to sink Trump, post a new story about Russian election meddling daily. Most of these stories share the common threads of unnamed sources, assumption of bad faith, and wild conjecture. A particularly odious example was a CNN piece published late last week claiming that Senate investigators were looking into Trump backer Anthony Scaramucci’s connections to a Russian investment fund. The allegation was made on the word of a single unnamed source.

Friday night the story vanished from CNN’s website, and some hours later, was replaced with a formal retraction notice and an apology to Scaramucci. After a busy weekend, all three journalists involved with the piece have resigned from the network: Thomas Frank, who wrote the story; Eric Lichtblau, an editor in the unit; and Lex Haris, who oversaw the unit.

The departures of Haris, Lichtblau and Frank are likely to come as a surprise to colleagues, particularly given the reputations of the three men.

Frank worked for USA Today and Newsday for three decades, pursuing investigations and covering the Iraq war as an embedded reporter, before coming to work at CNN.

He was part of an ambitious new investigative unit that was created last winter, bringing together existing teams from within the company and new hires like Lichtblau.

A veteran of The New York Times who won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2006, Lichtblau joined CNN just three months ago.

Haris, who was named the executive editor of CNN Investigates in January, was previously the executive editor of CNNMoney.

Although CNN didn’t admit that the story necessarily wrong, they determined their editorial processes were not followed. In a tweet over the weekend, Scaramucci said, “CNN did the right thing. Classy move. Apology accepted. Everyone makes mistakes. Moving on.”

Though this discipline won’t end the DC press corps’ mania for Kremlin conspiracies, it’s good to see one of the most egregious examples retracted and the journalists punished. The mainstream media has gotten way over its skis on the Trump/Russia allegations and perhaps this incident will give them pause before clicking “publish.”

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  1. Patrick McClure Coolidge
    Patrick McClure
    @Patrickb63

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: perhaps this incident will give them pause before clicking “publish.”

    It won’t Jon.  They are determined to take the President down.  It is the end of them or the end of him,  nothing less will do for the Democrat Media.

    • #1
  2. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    All of these guys will resurface with high paying jobs in journalism. There is no real punishment. Even Dan Rather landed on his feet by conning Mark Cuban out of some of his money. (Ironically, Cuban sold a minority stake in AXS TV to CBS in 2013.)

    When one of these guys ends up changing tires in Wal-Mart in Des Moines I’ll feel sorry for them.

    Oh, who am I kidding? No, I won’t.

    As for CNN their reputation is so far down already you’ll get grass stains on your clothes looking for it down gopher holes. This is just public posturing.

    • #2
  3. Kevin Creighton Contributor
    Kevin Creighton
    @KevinCreighton

    Q: What do you call 5000 dead lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?
    A: A good start!

    This is a good start.

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Actually this incident does give me hope that CNN responded appropriately. I don’t know why they did this time (since they’ve done other egregious things), but maybe there’s a lesson here. In my OP just below yours, we’re discussing how to force journalism to change. Maybe if more people stood up and cried foul, there’d be less disgusting behavior. Or maybe not. Sigh.

    • #4
  5. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Jon,

    Finally, the zombie narrative on Russia-Trump has hit a brick wall. They turned the lights on and CNN didn’t have its pants on. Good, may this be the first of many embarrassments.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #5
  6. BD1 Member
    BD1
    @

    Eric Lichtblau ran a hit-piece on Darrell Issa in 2011, at a time when the Left was enraged at Issa for his investigations into the Obama Administration.  “So far, the newspaper [NYT] has issued three corrections.”

    • #6
  7. Sash Member
    Sash
    @Sash

    I think far more than 3 people should be held accountable.

    CNN has gone over the cliff.

    • #7
  8. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Patrick McClure (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: perhaps this incident will give them pause before clicking “publish.”

    It won’t Jon. They are determined to take the President down. It is the end of them or the end of him, nothing less will do for the Democrat Media.

    It won’t change anything.  Someone put pressure on CNN because of the other victim.   Trump as a victim is still on their hit list under any circumstances.

    • #8
  9. blood thirsty neocon Inactive
    blood thirsty neocon
    @bloodthirstyneocon

    Where are the Trump haters on Ricochet who just a few weeks ago were citing anonymously sourced MSM reports in support of their calls for President Trump to resign? Cat got your tongues?

    • #9
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    As I said to Gawain when he cut off the Green Knight’s head, that’s gonna leave a mark.

    What does CNN owe a “source” whose story burned three of its employees? Either the source was a liar, or there was no source. Which is it?

    • #10
  11. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Actually this incident does give me hope that CNN responded appropriately. I don’t know why they did this time (since they’ve done other egregious things), but maybe there’s a lesson here. In my OP just below yours, we’re discussing how to force journalism to change. Maybe if more people stood up and cried foul, there’d be less disgusting behavior. Or maybe not. Sigh.

    I always criticize the media when they screw up, so I want to applaud them when they do the right thing. Of course, this won’t end bias, but it’s nice (and a bit shocking) to see them push these three out the door.

    • #11
  12. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):
    Where are the Trump haters on Ricochet who just a few weeks ago were citing anonymously sourced MSM reports in support of their calls for President Trump to resign? Cat got your tongues?

    I’m a Trump skeptic and I’m praising this move. It seems obvious to me that after two years of hardcore investigations, and not finding anything, there’s just no “there” there.

    • #12
  13. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):
    It seems obvious to me that after two years of hardcore investigations, and not finding anything, there’s just no “there” there.

    There may be a “there” there, but there may a “there” over there.

    Secret FBI memos suggest Russia-Flynn probe was political payback

    • #13
  14. BD1 Member
    BD1
    @

    Peter J Hasson of the Daily Caller: “Also noteworthy: Eric Lichtblau came to them from NYT where he was dropping Trump-Russia scoops with similarly described sources.”

    • #14
  15. blood thirsty neocon Inactive
    blood thirsty neocon
    @bloodthirstyneocon

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):
    Where are the Trump haters on Ricochet who just a few weeks ago were citing anonymously sourced MSM reports in support of their calls for President Trump to resign? Cat got your tongues?

    I’m a Trump skeptic and I’m praising this move. It seems obvious to me that after two years of hardcore investigations, and not finding anything, there’s just no “there” there.

    Glad to hear it, Jon!

    • #15
  16. blood thirsty neocon Inactive
    blood thirsty neocon
    @bloodthirstyneocon

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):
    Where are the Trump haters on Ricochet who just a few weeks ago were citing anonymously sourced MSM reports in support of their calls for President Trump to resign? Cat got your tongues?

    I’m a Trump skeptic and I’m praising this move. It seems obvious to me that after two years of hardcore investigations, and not finding anything, there’s just no “there” there.

    Glad to hear it, Jon! BTW, I didn’t mean to say that all Trump skeptics have been crediting dubiously sourced MSM reports, though some have.

     

    • #16
  17. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Kevin Creighton (View Comment):
    Q: What do you call 5000 dead lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?
    A: A good start!

    This is a good start.

    When I tell the joke, it’s 10,000.

    In other news, is it any wonder that 70% of the general public agrees that news organizations are subject to partisan agendas? Even most Democrats!

    • #17
  18. Matt Balzer Member
    Matt Balzer
    @MattBalzer

    EJHill (View Comment):
    When one of these guys ends up changing tires in Wal-Mart in Des Moines I’ll feel sorry for them.

    Oh, who am I kidding? No, I won’t.

    I’d be more sorry for their customers.

    • #18
  19. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Actually this incident does give me hope that CNN responded appropriately. I don’t know why they did this time (since they’ve done other egregious things), but maybe there’s a lesson here. In my OP just below yours, we’re discussing how to force journalism to change. Maybe if more people stood up and cried foul, there’d be less disgusting behavior. Or maybe not. Sigh.

    I think some of it has to do with the fact that it’s getting pretty hard to convince yourself that there’s anything to this collusion story at this point.  I think these guys chased it thinking they were pretty sure it would pan out and they’d be justified in the end.  But it’s getting late, and there’s less and less “there” there every day.  It’s getting hard not to notice if you’ve got even a scintilla of integrity left.

    • #19
  20. profdlp Inactive
    profdlp
    @profdlp

    Cato Rand (View Comment):
    I think some of it has to do with the fact that it’s getting pretty hard to convince yourself that there’s anything to this collusion story at this point. I think these guys chased it thinking they were pretty sure it would pan out and they’d be justified in the end. But it’s getting late, and there’s less and less “there” there every day…

    Yes, just like Dirty Dan Rather’s “fake but accurate”.  It didn’t matter that he made it up.  That stinking Bush was guilty, by golly, so what did a few lies in pursuit of the “truth” matter?

    • #20
  21. JcTPatriot Inactive
    JcTPatriot
    @JcTPatriot

    The problem for me is, the Comey testimony (when forced to tell the truth because of the possibility of taped conversations) proved that all of the Russia narrative was false, that all of the “sources” were either liars, or the sources themselves were made up by “journalists”, and the MSM was actually driving the narrative, not the facts.

    It has all been stirred up again by the new lies being spread that Obama “knew” the Russians were “meddling” but chose not to say anything. This new narrative is the most fake one told so far. But this is how the MSM operates now. They make up a story out of whole cloth, and then DNC operatives and their sycophants in the MSM defend the lie until it is again disproven. I heard Juan Williams trying his very best to defend this latest silliness while keeping a straight face. He knew it was all a lie, but he also knows that the Democrats have nothing on the President.

    • #21
  22. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    I will guess that CNN needs to offload a few more reporters and chose this excuse rather than have some layoffs.  They may get real concerned about journalistic ethics for a week or two.

    • #22
  23. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):
    I always criticize the media when they screw up, so I want to applaud them when they do the right thing.

    I’m not sure it’s really appropriate to applaud a mass-murderer for apologizing for a single speeding incident.

    • #23
  24. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    I think some of it has to do with the fact that it’s getting pretty hard to convince yourself that there’s anything to this collusion story at this point. I think these guys chased it thinking they were pretty sure it would pan out and they’d be justified in the end. But it’s getting late, and there’s less and less “there” there every day. It’s getting hard not to notice if you’ve got even a scintilla of integrity left.

    hehehe. Gold digger “journalists” (loosely held meaning they use a computer and type letters) prospecting on Trump, coming up empty handed.

    May their evil brand of covfefe journalism burn. Burn. Burn.

    Schadenfreude x 200.

    • #24
  25. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    From Fox:

    In the retraction, the network said the story “did not meet CNN’s editorial standards.” The network is now requiring approval from two top editors before any Russia-related story can be published.

    It should be “Trump-related story”.

    • #25
  26. KC Mulville Inactive
    KC Mulville
    @KCMulville

    Cato Rand (View Comment): I think some of it has to do with the fact that it’s getting pretty hard to convince yourself that there’s anything to this collusion story at this point. I think these guys chased it thinking they were pretty sure it would pan out and they’d be justified in the end. But it’s getting late, and there’s less and less “there” there every day. It’s getting hard not to notice if you’ve got even a scintilla of integrity left.

    And, not to make a big deal about it … Trump hasn’t fanned the flames for a while. The story was always flickering out, only to have Trump say something that popped it back up, but he hasn’t done that for a while.

    Do you think that he’s finally gaining some discipline? Or that Melania has moved in, and is taking up his attention so that he’s not tweeting at 3am? Yay Melania!

    • #26
  27. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Patrick McClure (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: perhaps this incident will give them pause before clicking “publish.”

    It won’t Jon. They are determined to take the President down. It is the end of them or the end of him, nothing less will do for the Democrat Media.

    Yes I think that summarizes it best.  My fear is that Trump’s political inexperience coupled with his headstrong ego might give them the ammunition some day to complete the job.  But for now, fake news has been exposed.

    • #27
  28. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    EJHill (View Comment):
    All of these guys will resurface with high paying jobs in journalism. There is no real punishment. Even Dan Rather landed on his feet by conning Mark Cuban out of some of his money. (Ironically, Cuban sold a minority stake in AXS TV to CBS in 2013.)

    When one of these guys ends up changing tires in Wal-Mart in Des Moines I’ll feel sorry for them.

    Oh, who am I kidding? No, I won’t.

    As for CNN their reputation is so far down already you’ll get grass stains on your clothes looking for it down gopher holes. This is just public posturing.

    Something tells me that Scaramucci had them caught in a lie hands down and nailed to the ground. Firing three of their prime stable and apologizing publicly to Scaramucci is an extreme defensive move bu CNN.

    Or…the bosses at CNN read Susan Quinn’s OP and suddenly felt shamed by her shining light of moral rectitude–the most likely explanation, I would suppose.

    • #28
  29. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Russian meddling is old news. It started in 1915 with the founding of the Comintern, Stalin dissolved the Comintern and meddling became a function of Soviet Intelligence agencies.

    If you’re a Russian you meddle, it’s what you do.

    • #29
  30. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    KC Mulville (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment): I think some of it has to do with the fact that it’s getting pretty hard to convince yourself that there’s anything to this collusion story at this point. I think these guys chased it thinking they were pretty sure it would pan out and they’d be justified in the end. But it’s getting late, and there’s less and less “there” there every day. It’s getting hard not to notice if you’ve got even a scintilla of integrity left.

    And, not to make a big deal about it … Trump hasn’t fanned the flames for a while. The story was always flickering out, only to have Trump say something that popped it back up, but he hasn’t done that for a while.

    Do you think that he’s finally gaining some discipline? Or that Melania has moved in, and is taking up his attention so that he’s not tweeting at 3am? 

    It would work for me.

     

    • #30

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