CNN Called Out For ‘Fake News’ About Donald Trump Jr. And WikiLeaks Documents

Kathy WillensAP Images

CNN is facing a social media backlash for putting out a false story earlier today that the Trump campaign, including Donald Trump Jr., supposedly was offered early access to a WikiLeaks hack of the Democratic National Committee emails. According to a CNN exclusive that several other news organizations also picked up, someone sent Trump Jr. and others an email that offered a decryption key and a link for the purposes of a sneak peek into the WikiLeaks data.

It turns out, however, that the CNN exclusive was a non-story in that the random email was dated September 14, 2016, not September 4 as CNN originally claimed. WikiLeaks had already released the DNC leaks into the public domain on September 13, the day before, so the CNN exclusive, which it promoted for hours on end, was actually insignificant.

Trump Jr. never responded to the email anyway, the Washington Post reported.

“The message was one of thousands turned over to the House Intelligence Committee and others investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, emails that included spam and junk emails. Trump Jr. was asked about the email Wednesday, when he spent about seven hours behind closed doors answering questions from members of the committee.”

CNN later clarified the story (see clip below), although the original version is still being shared across the internet. CNN added that none of its staff journalists will be subject to discipline because the report supposedly had two unnamed sources behind it.

“In a humiliating move, CNN decided to have one of the authors of the debunked story go on air to ‘correct’ his reporting…Neither CNN or the reporter apologized for the error,” The Daily Caller observed.

The New York Times explained that the scoop turned out to be another CNN miscue; for Trump supporters, it was another example as they see it of how the relentlessly negative mainstream media will breathlessly report virtually anti-Trump story or portray Trump-related news in the worst possible light without proper due diligence or context.

“The correction undercut the main thrust of CNN’s story, which had been seized on by critics of President Trump as evidence of coordination between WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign. It was also yet another prominent reporting error at a time when news organizations are confronting a skeptical public, and a president who delights in attacking the media as ‘fake news’…Several news outlets, including Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, also inaccurately reported this week that Deutsche Bank had received a subpoena from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, for President Trump’s financial records.”

President Trump has famously labeled CNN very fake news.

You may recall that back in June, three CNN journalists lost their jobs after the news network published and then retracted a story on its website that a member of the Trump transition team was linked to a Russian investment fund that was under investigation by the U.S. Senate. As a result of that inaccurate reporting, CNN supposedly implemented a policy requiring approval from high-level executives for any Russia-related content.

After CNN’s latest blunder, Donald Trump Jr. himself, along with many others, called out CNN on Twitter, where the hashtag #ThingsITrustMoreThanCNN is currently trending.

Last week, ABC News incorrectly reported that then-candidate Trump asked Gen. Michael Flynn to contact the Russians, resulting in correspondent Brian Ross being put on a one-month unpaid suspension and being banned from covering stories about President Trump moving forward. The contact actually occurred after the election when Trump was the president-elect, and this form of post-election outreach is customary in international diplomacy and was routine in prior incoming administrations as well.

CNN tonight also publicized a New York Times story that that FBI warned Hope Hicks, who is in the president’s inner circle, that Russian operatives were repeatedly trying to contact her via email during the transition. Deep into the piece, the Times admits the following.

“In some ways, the Russian outreach to Ms. Hicks undercuts the idea that the Russian government had established deep ties to the Trump campaign before the election. If it had, Russian officials might have found a better entree to the White House than unprompted emails to Ms. Hicks.”

Last month, Donald Trump Jr. called out Newsweek magazine for claiming that his dad and murderer Charles Manson used similar language to attract followers. Newsweek subsequently edited the article to remove all references to the president along with an editor’s note that the original version failed to meet the publication’s editorial standards.

Added: Donald Trump Jr. and Sr. continue to weigh in on the CNN mishap.