As anyone who has followed politics for the last two years already knows, few newspapers or networks have as little regard for the truth as CNN. Dubbed the “Clinton News Network” for much of the election, the cable news giant has been an insidious source of fake news geared towards defaming and destroying Donald Trump since he first descended that golden escalator in June of 2015. So while it’s not anything new for the network or its website to publish stories that have a tenuous relationship to silly things like “facts,” it’s extremely unusual for them to actually admit it. No, for that to happen – as it did on Thursday – you know they really crossed the line.
“On June 22, 2017, CNN.com published a story connecting Anthony Scaramucci with investigations into the Russian Direct Investment Fund,” the cable news company said in a statement. “That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted.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.”
Oosh! First of all, if the story didn’t meet your editorial standards, then why was it published in the first place? Are you going to fire the editor in charge of vetting the story, since he apparently didn’t bother to do his job? Secondly, how BAD does a story have to be to slide under CNN’s “editorial standards”?? Judging by some of the slop they’ve served up in the last couple of years, you’d think anything with a byline and a quote would quite comfortably pass the bar.
Therefore, we can only conclude that their Scaramucci story was WAY off the mark.
According to the story, Scaramucci, who was an advisor to the Trump transition team, was under Senate investigation for his ties to a $10 billion Russian investment fund. Scaramucci, who heads up the investment firm SkyBridge Capital, supposedly had a meeting with the CEO of the Russian fund, Kirill Dmitriev, in which the two discussed lifting U.S. sanctions. This meeting, it was reported, took place just four days before Trump was sworn into office.
While it’s apparently true that Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ben Cardin wanted to have the Treasury Department look into the meetings to determine the truth of the allegation, it was not true that there is an ongoing Senate investigation. And while everyone involved with the meetings has said that economic sanctions were not discussed, that didn’t prevent CNN from connecting the dots and drawing conclusions that were not based on the facts.
For his part, Scaramucci was gracious about the whole thing. “CNN did the right thing,” he said on Twitter. “Classy move. Apology accepted. Everyone makes mistakes. Moving on.”
Damn, that’s a refreshing response.
But while Scaramucci may be ready to move on, the rest of us have a right to demand better from news organizations purporting to traffic in the facts.