Last night it was announced that three employees at CNN have resigned following the retraction of an online news story. Management conducted an internal investigation and discovered that the standard editorial process was not followed for the piece when it was published, according to those briefed on the results.
The story, which reported that Congress was investigating a “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials,” cited a single anonymous source.
These types of stories are typically reviewed by several departments within CNN — including fact-checkers, journalism standards experts and lawyers — before publication.
This breakdown in editorial workflow disturbed the CNN executives who learned about it.
In a staff meeting Monday afternoon, investigative unit members were told that the retraction did not mean the facts of the story were necessarily wrong. Rather, it meant that “the story wasn’t solid enough to publish as-is,” one of the people briefed on the investigation said. (CNN)
Of course, Trump jumped on this “fake news” with glee via his standard method of communication.
The story was quickly taken down and replaced with an editor’s note, which included an apology. The three members of the team, including a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, resigned.
It was a report that the Senate Intelligence Committee was investigating the Russian Direct Investment Fund, involving Anthony Scaramucci, a member of Trump’s transition team. Per the fund’s press service, Scaramucci discussed the possibility of joint investments in Davos. However, the U.S. sanctioned the Russian wealth fund in 2015.
The meeting with Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, a $10 billion state-run investment vehicle, is the first public contact between the incoming administration and Kremlin-backed business. Trump has suggested he could ease the sanctions on Russia if the Kremlin cooperates on his policy priorities. Scaramucci confirmed the Davos meeting.
In an interview with the Russian state news agency TASS Tuesday, he also criticized the sanctions as ineffective. Trump’s view about Russia is that “there’s probably shared values or shared interests, that we can align ourselves with each other and this could be mutually beneficial,” he said. The two sides didn’t disclose details of the meeting, which Scaramucci said took place Monday evening. (Bloomberg)
However, Scaramucci insisted he did nothing wrong, and because CNN was unable to confirm the information, the story was retracted with an apology directly to Scaramucci, which he publically accepted.