Liberal journalist Glenn Greenwald writes at the The Intercept that CNN’s blatantly false report that Wikileaks (and thus Russia) had been caught attempting to collude with the Trump campaign before the release of the trove of DNC emails was the start of “one of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time.” The fake news was hyped all over television and the Internet, especially by MSNBC. Outlets eventually corrected their respective reports, but how such a mistake was possible remains a mystery. From his article:
The spectacle began on Friday morning at 11:00 am EST, when the Most Trusted Name in News [CNN] spent 12 straight minutes on air flamboyantly hyping an exclusive bombshell report that seemed to prove that WikiLeaks, last September, had secretly offered the Trump campaign, even Donald Trump himself, special access to the DNC emails before they were published on the internet. As CNN sees the world, this would prove collusion between the Trump family and WikiLeaks and, more importantly, between Trump and Russia, since the U.S. intelligence community regards WikiLeaks as an “arm of Russian intelligence,” and therefore, so does the U.S. media.
It is, of course, completely plausible that one source might innocently misread a date on a document. But how is it remotely plausible that multiple sources could all innocently and in good faith misread the date in exactly the same way, all to cause to be disseminated a blockbuster revelation about Trump/Russia/WikiLeaks collusion? This is the critical question that CNN simply refuses to answer. In other words, CNN refuses to provide the most minimal transparency to enable the public to understand what happened here.
Is that what happened here? Did these “multiple sources” who fed not just CNN but also MSNBC and CBS completely false information do so deliberately and in bad faith? Until these news outlets provide an accounting of what happened – what one might call “minimal journalistic transparency” – it’s impossible to say for certain. But right now, it’s very difficult to imagine a scenario where multiple sources all fed the wrong date to multiple media outlets innocently and in good faith.
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