BOOM! Three CNN Employees Resign Over Retracted Story on Trump-Russia Ties
Three CNN employees have resigned over a retracted story linking Trump to Russia.
As TGP previously reported, Executive Editor Rich Barbieri sent an internal memo to CNN staff instructing them that all Russia-related stories must be cleared by him or the VP before being published following a retraction of a very fake news story linking the Trump transition team to Russia.
Very fake news CNN deleted a story from its website Friday evening about congressional investigators allegedly focusing on a Russian investment fund whose top executive met with a Trump transition team member, the Washington Examiner reported.
Erik Wemple of WaPo reports:
Now for the consequences. CNN announced on Monday afternoon that three network officials are leaving their jobs over the incident: Frank, the reporter on the story; Eric Lichtblau, a recent CNN addition from the New York Times who edited the piece; and Lex Haris, the executive editor of “CNN Investigates.” The moves follow an investigation carried out by CNN executives over the weekend, with the conclusion that longstanding network procedures for publishing stories weren’t properly followed. “There was a significant breakdown in process,” says a CNN source. “There were editorial checks and balances within the organization that weren’t met.”The official CNN statement: “In the aftermath of the retraction of a story published on CNN.com, CNN has accepted the resignations of the employees involved in the story’s publication.”Regarding the personnel changes, a CNN source said, “The individuals all stated that they accepted responsibility and wanted to resign.” A compelling wrinkle in the saga of the story springs from the careful language in the editor’s note: “That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted.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,” it reads. CNN is not bailing on all the factual representations in the story, however. “We pulled it down not because we disproved it,” says a CNN source, adding that there was “enough concern” on some factual points that “given the breach in process, we decided to pull it down.”
Thomas Frank, who wrote the story in question; Eric Lichtblau, an editor in the unit; and Lex Haris, who oversaw the unit, have all left CNN.
“In the aftermath of the retraction of a story published on CNN.com, CNN has accepted the resignations of the employees involved in the story’s publication,” a spokesman said Monday evening.
An internal investigation by CNN management found that some standard editorial processes were not followed when the article was published, people briefed on the results of the investigation said.
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.