Remember when Christopher Steele’s dossier, allegedly incriminating for President Donald Trump, was treated as an almost infallible sacred act by much of the mainstream media, especially CNN? Well, now that the primary source of that dossier has been indicted for lying to the FBI, where are the corrections to the record by those same media? The Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple is now taking an account on CNN and wondering when very specific staff members of that organization will publicly retract their claims about how the Steele dossier was corroborated, as you can see in his Friday column, “Is CNN standing still with its reports on the Steele file?”
A week ago, CNN covered up the indictment of Igor Danchenko, the primary source for the discredited Trump-Russia dossier compiled in 2016 by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. The document, which stems from Special Adviser John Durham’s investigation into the Russia investigation, alleged that Danchenko lied to the FBI about interactions with sources while collecting material for Steele.
However, Wemple noted that there was one important thing missing in the discussions of that indictment:
There was one thing missing from that discussion: CNN’s longstanding claim that the Steele dossier had been at least partially corroborated. Last year, the Erik Wemple Blog reported numerous such comments from CNN hosts and reporters. A typical one came from presenter Don Lemon in November 2017: “Listen, so we haven’t reported the salacious details of that dossier here on CNN, but much of the dossier has been confirmed.”
Lemon wasn’t a freelancer; his assessment originated from a February 2017 report by Perez and national security correspondent Jim Sciutto, which indicated that US investigators had “corroborated some of the communications” in the dossier. The “wiretaps confirm that some of the conversations described in the dossier took place between the same people on the same days and from the same places described in the dossier, according to officials,” the story noted. But even that report could not confirm “whether any content relates to the then-candidate Trump” and noted that “officials have not commented on or confirmed any alleged conversations or meetings between Russian officials and US citizens, including associates of the then. Trump candidate. “
As narrow as the account was, it served as a springboard for broader expressions of confidence in Steele’s work. “CNN, by the way, corroborated some elements of that dossier,” anchor Wolf Blitzer said in June 2017. “A lot has been verified,” CNN presenter John Vause said in January 2018. If nothing else, the dossier demonstrates how undisciplined chatter via cable can amplify a printed story with rigorous words.
Wemple asked CNN for comment but apparently, rather than correct the record, it looks like they will continue to uphold its historical record of fake news on this topic.
In light of recent developments, we asked CNN if it still supports its “confirmation” reporting and, if so, what specific parts of the dossier does it apply to? We have not received a reply. So, we’ll have to repeat the statement the network provided for our 2020 story: “CNN supports our report. Our approach to the dossier has been consistent from day one. CNN only reported details when they were. confirmed, part of a government filing or publicly discussed by officials or those mentioned. “
coherent? Yes, to its credit, CNN covered Danchenko’s allegation with a smattering of reports last Thursday. There was also a piece on CNN.com. In reverse, The February 2017 “corroboration” story received saturation coverage in a network scheduled to advertise all Trump-related articles. That mark of asymmetry helps explain why many people distrust CNN.
Do people distrust CNN as much as they do MSNBC or is it a mistake?