CNN — the network leading the crusade against the nefarious and vaguely defined “fake news” that Donald Trump supposedly rode to victory over the woman whose name is now forever associated with the “Clinton News Network” — has had some fake news problems of its own. Last week, another CNN “bombshell” Russiagate report imploded; after the network was called out for quietly pulling the story, the ratings-challenged network appears to be clamping down on its coverage of the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory.
The Daily Wire‘s Joseph Curl chronicled CNN’s quiet deletion of its story followed by its forced retraction: On Thursday, CNN published a story written by Thomas Frank, based on a — you guessed it — single, unnamed source, claiming Senate investigators were looking into the connection between a member of Donald Trump’s transition team and a $10-billion Russian investment fund based on some meeting that supposedly happened just four days before Trump’s inauguration.
But then some time on Friday, CNN quietly pulled the story as well as a tweet that once proudly broadcast the network’s bombshell report. Noticing that the article mysteriously disappeared without a word, BuzzFeed asked CNN about it. “More than an hour later, an editor’s note appeared on CNN’s website,” Buzzfeed reports. “A company representative sent BuzzFeed News a link to the note, but did not answer other questions about why the story was removed.” Here’s the editor’s note:
On June 22, 2017, CNN.com published a story connecting Anthony Scaramucci with investigations into the Russian Direct Investment Fund.
That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted.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.
The retracted story’s author also reluctantly tweeted the note for “the sake of transparency”:
Smelling blood (or perhaps helping CNN save face?), BuzzFeed followed up its report by highlighting a leaked memo from a CNNMoney executive editor that suggests the network is scrambling to make sure it doesn’t let its obsession with what Trump calls the “big Dem HOAX!” Russia story do any more damage to its already damaged-beyond-repair brand.
The memo from Rich Barbieri, which went out a 11:21 a.m. Saturday, states: “No one should publish any content involving Russia without coming to me and Jason [Farkas, a CNN vice president] first. This applied to social, video, editorial, and MoneyStream. No exceptions. I will lay out a workflow Monday.”
BuzzFeed notes that the “new restrictions also apply to other areas of the network — not just CNNMoney, which wasn’t involved with the article that was deleted and retracted.”
So will CNN really rein in its hysterical Russiagate coverage? With the Democrats clearly trying to figure out how to walk it back after repeatedly having to admit to “no evidence,” CNN would certainly be wise to. But should we expect wisdom and restraint from CNN? Such values are relics of the past for the establishment media.