Accuracy in Media

A special report from the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, Cliff Kincaid, director 

If you have any doubts about the basic dishonesty of CNN, consider how the channel not only broadcasts fake news but recycles it.

Remember that CNN “broke” the story about the “Russian Trump dossier” compiled by an ex-British intelligence agent for Hillary Clinton supporters. The document was opposition research against then-candidate Donald Trump, now President.

Despite the lack of any corroboration from any source, including hostile anti-Trump media or the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), after several months of secret efforts, CNN is now claiming in a February 10 story that its U.S. intelligence and investigative sources say that “some aspects” of the 35-page dossier “for the first time” have been “corroborated.”

Let’s examine this startling claim.

CNN is adamant as to how this is the very first shred of any purported confirmation of the “Trump dossier” ever to be found by U.S. official agencies:

Until now, US intelligence and law enforcement officials have said they could not verify any parts of the dossier.”

“The corroboration, based on intercepted communications, has given US intelligence and law enforcement ‘greater confidence’ in the credibility of some aspects of the dossier as they continue to actively investigate its contents, these sources say.” [emphasis added, here and elsewhere]

Yet these very same “aspects” were reported in the press in September 2016 as then under active investigation by “U.S. intelligence and law enforcement.” The latter are typical buzzwords for the CIA and FBI, which are indeed two of the main agencies CNN asked for official comment five months later in February 2017.

Did U.S. intelligence “forget” about their own investigations? Or did the CIA in particular simply wait several months and pretend ignorance of the September investigations in order to make an “aha” discovery that would be reported in a leak as sensational “breaking news” in February?

According to CNN, the intercepted data allegedly confirm that “some…conversations described in the dossier” actually “took place” and were between named Russians and/or foreigners. These allegedly involve confirming the existence of conversations between the “same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier” but do not confirm any of the “salacious allegations” about Trump (the purported lurid “sex perversions”).

But the “Trump dossier” is missing critical factual details such as many essential names, dates and places. So what is CNN talking about on the “dossier” detailing “same days” and “same locations?” The “Trump dossier” is almost devoid of any dates and locations of meetings of key figures, making its allegations suspiciously difficult to verify.

There are only two meetings in the entire 35-page “Trump dossier” with dates and locations of such alleged top-level meetings or conversations:

  1. Russian oil company head Igor Sechin supposedly meeting with sometime alleged Trump adviser Carter Page in Moscow about July 7-8, 2016; and
  2. Putin’s alleged meeting with ally and ex-ruler of Ukraine, Yanukovych, near Volgograd on Aug. 15, 2016.

A New York Times report similar to CNN’s indeed confirms that Page and Yanukovych are the targets of investigation using intercepted phone conversations, and that the “Trump dossier” is a major subject of review.

But the fact of Carter Page’s visit to Moscow was public news in a Reuters dispatch on July 7, 2016, and needed no six months of exhaustive review of “intercepted communications” to verify it. All one had to do was just Google it.

By September 23, 2016, Yahoo News was reporting that, based in part on U.S. intelligence sources who had “actively monitored” (or intercepted) Russian communications, the specific alleged Sechin-Page meeting was under investigation by U.S. intelligence sources. This, again, was easily discovered by Googling it. If the CIA “forgot” that it “knew” about this “monitoring,” officials could just Google the Yahoo story to help them “remember” its own investigation.

The same major media that fell all over themselves claiming they were so scrupulous in not publishing any of the “Trump dossier”—because they could not confirm any of it—in fact were leaking material from the “dossier” in veiled and not-so-veiled references as far back as The New York Times on July 29, 2016.

A Yahoo News report on September 23, 2016, reads like a long disguised excerpt from the July 19 report in the “Trump dossier” on the Page trip to Moscow, combined with the Reuters dispatch. Yahoo wrote that U.S. officials had received intelligence reports that during his trip to Moscow in July, Page met with Igor Sechin, a close Putin associate and head of Rosneft, Russian’s leading oil company, “a well-placed Western intelligence source tells Yahoo News.” Sechin supposedly discussed the issue of lifting U.S. sanctions against Russia, “the Western intelligence source said.” The same source said that Page met with another top Putin aide while in Moscow, named Igor Diveykin.

The “Trump dossier” says exactly the same things that appeared two months later in Yahoo News:

TRUMP DOSSIER, July 19, 2016, Report:

“Trump advisor Carter Page holds secret meetings in Moscow with Sechin and senior Kremlin Internal Affairs official, Divyekin [sic]…Sechin raises issue [of] lifting of western sanctions against Russia….Speaking in July 2016, a Russian source close to Rosneft President, Putin close associate and US-sanctioned individual, Igor Sechin, confided the details of a recent secret meeting between him and…Carter Page.”

(Steele report, dated July 19, 2016, all-caps emphasis removed)

Yahoo’s “well-placed Western intelligence source” very likely may be Christopher Steele, the ex-British MI6 intelligence agent, who was hired by Clinton financial backers to produce the “Trump dossier.”

Yahoo News went on to say that investigations of Carter Page and his Russian contacts were under way, including the “talks” that were being “actively monitored and investigated,” which sounds like the “monitoring” of intercepted communications.  Again, remember this is September 2016, not a sudden “first time” discovery in February 2017:

Yahoo News, September 23, 2016:

“The activities of Trump adviser [sic] Carter Page, who has extensive business interests in Russia, have been discussed with senior members of Congress during recent briefings about suspected efforts by Moscow to influence the presidential election, the sources said. After one of those briefings, Senate minority leader Harry Reid wrote FBI Director James Comey, citing reports of meetings between a Trump adviser (a reference to Page) and ‘high ranking sanctioned individuals’ in Moscow over the summer as evidence of ‘significant and disturbing ties’ between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin that needed to be investigated by the bureau.

“… a congressional source familiar with the briefings…added that U.S. officials in the briefings indicated that intelligence reports about the adviser’s [Carter Page’s] talks with senior Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin were being ‘actively monitored and investigated.’ [Emphasis added.]

“A senior U.S. law enforcement official did not dispute that characterization when asked for comment by Yahoo News.”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer commented on this latest report on February 10, stating that “We continue to be disgusted by CNN’s fake news reporting.”

The CNN report is indeed fake news, old recycled fake news, dished up as brand new.

Why has there been no apparent progress in the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement investigation since September 23, 2016, given that this latest leak tells us nothing more than what was reported in September? Could it be that when something is fake one cannot find out anything more because there is nothing more to find? The tiny grain of truth around which the fake has been built (such as Page’s actual Moscow visit) was easily found in the original Reuters news dispatch.

Finally, something must be said about the hypocritical reversal of the media on what they were calling the rise of the “surveillance state” and the assault on our civil rights with the revelations of former NSA analyst Edward Snowden.

Now, suddenly, all that concern for civil rights is silenced when it comes to the much more intrusive actual intercepted conversations of U.S. citizens who happen to be connected to now-President Trump. Trump’s people apparently have no civil rights as far as the media and the “surveillance state” itself are concerned.

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  • AltVoice

    CNN (called Clinton News Network in the 1990s) simply cannot help itself, with guys named Lemon, ‘Fake’ Tapper, “Commie” Van Jones, and the womanly Ander-son, which derives from Andreas meaning “man” or “manly.”

  • NoBS NoSpam

    CNN has become an ethical Jihadist orginization.
    They are very religious in their commitment towards Suicide Journalism.

  • mioahu

    Communist News Network, Clinton News Network, Crappy News Network… bunch of leftist hacks, they should be all ashamed of themselves… Don Lemon is a Lemon, but you can’t even make a lemonade , that’s how useless and spineless he is

  • Norman Frank

    I seem to remember that Weekly World News had a lot in common with CNN…

  • Richard Karkkainen

    CNN used to be a news organization. It is now a propaganda organization. Too bad!

  • Bill Matthes

    Well, it IS a proven fact that CNN is garbage, so this isn’t surprising in the least. You’d think the morons there would learn, but obviously they are too damned stupid.

  • georgemachock

    It is a completely false document. Too bad they can’t be sued for libel.

  • The Texan

    The media has expressed outrage that President Trump has called them out and circumvents them whenever possible. But what the media fails to understand is that President Trump in only giving voice to what a great many people already believe about their reporting. With few possible exceptions people find almost everything in the news to be suspect and unreliable. People don’t want the media attempting to tell them what to think or how to think. Is it any wonder that the public is more willing the give credence to what President Trump says than they are the media?

  • Robert Koeller

    It’s time for cnn and the huffington puffington post to close the doors and let other news org to report.

  • disqus_MZe2ymfHQj

    I don’t listen to the Clinton news network,—they are not American.

  • Diane Jones

    What about Obama’s meeting with Russian in 2008 to get them to support his election and then again in 2012 when he again made contact with them including Putin to support him again against Romney. He told them that he would be more flexible on sanctions and other issues if elected. Did CNN broadcast this? It’s on record. Obama named these 7 nations as TERRORIST NATIONS and he had Iraq banned for 9 months from coming into US. WAS THIS BROADCASTED?
    it’s on record. Carter, Clinton, Bush and Obama all banned certain countries for a duration. They all deported illegals. We do have IMMIGRATION laws on the books but Obama ignored many of them.
    Sweden really does have problems. So does Germany who is trying to impeach their lady that let the refugees in. France has had problems.
    Big problems. people DIED. buildings blown up.

  • SouthernPatriot

    CNN is the only English TV allowed in Cuba by the Castro communist dictatorship. First known as Communist News Network, that evolving into Clinton News Network for Bill and most recently for Hillary, and now in its latest emphasis Corrupt News Network. Leftist sodomites along with a communist and demented Democrat activists it is a wasteland of faux news and now regurgitated faux news to blend well with their other vomit.

  • alfie0077

    Hey it is the CATHOLIC “news net’.
    Know who the enemy is…They are ILLEGAL ALIEN CATHOLIC INVADERS.
    The only difference between Muslim and Catholic is the continent they
    destroy…… Just try to find a successful Muslim or Catholic
    nation, there are none…….Remember why you voted for Trump!!!!!!
    Vote for ANY Catholic and you vote for a traitor. NO Catholic is an

  • Mike

    You’re kinda painting with a broad brush ain’t you?
    I tend to believe that there are people from all religions that are as good American people as you or myself.
    Catholic and Muslim included.

    That’s why we have freedom of religion in America. I’ve got to respect their freedoms if I want them to respect mine. I’ll go even as far as fighting for their freedom of religion.

    Are all of them good people? No!! But then again, neither are all people who call themselves Christians.

  • Mike

    You’re right! The media has manipulated and lied to the American people far to long.
    They’re as much a part of the liberal establishment as any political party.
    It’s past time to call them out.

  • klsparrow

    Maybe it was McCain he tried to get money from Russia for 2008 campaign needed more Clinton the 20% deal with Russia and 135M

  • Ron C

    Well of course they will put out fake news, O’Keefe is about ready to release the goods on CNN, and CNN would rather talk about a faked dossier that Senator McCain paid for…duh!

  • General “Bull” Krapper

    CNN = Cunts, Not Newspeople.


  • Askjrsk

    What about true and real news? John McCain solicited campaign funds from the Russian government. Where’s the real news, there CNN journalist whimps?

  • Askjrsk

    Way bad

  • Askjrsk

    Fake news false narratives and propaganda. All over Europe too. To the embarrassment of all Americans.

  • Askjrsk

    That’s it.

  • Askjrsk

    Maybe a real news net work would know and report that JOHN MCCAIN is the candidate that solicited the Russian government for campaign funds.

  • Askjrsk

    That is so obvious. Thank you for drawing attention to this huge point over looked avoided and smoke screened by not reporting. Huge news to real Americans. We are so tired of FALSE narratives and fake news.

  • Askjrsk

    They can’t report the truth That is so clear. They have under reported on the foreign student, cocaine hustler including for sex, and service wealthy powerful males. This gay black Muslim has sealed records, illegal social security numbers and forged birth certificate and probably a full-on fraudulent presidency. Exactly, Merkel is now very unpopular, and Europe looks to the US for leadership and guidance. Thank God for PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP.

  • Askjrsk

    Mexican owned NEW YORK TIMES, LA Times, close them down.

  • Askjrsk

    PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP is our voice.

  • Askjrsk

    Now is the time.

  • Askjrsk


  • Askjrsk

    You are a bigoted racist and not American. Many Catholics died in serving this country protecting your right to free speech.

  • wendygoerl

    “The corroboration . . . has given US intelligence and law enforcement ‘greater confidence’ in the credibility of some aspects of the dossier as they CONTINUE to actively investigate its contents . . . Yet these very same “aspects” were reported in the press in September 2016 as then under active investigation . . .Did U.S. intelligence “forget” about their own investigations . . . pretend ignorance of the September investigations in order to make an “aha” discovery”

    Look, I’m not painting CNN as an angel of unbiased research, but given the pace of investigations like these, it’s most likely they’re referring to the SAME, ONGOING investigation, and something interesting showed up in a particular aspect they didn’t get to until February. Who’s calling the kettle black here?

  • klsparrow

    They have the Doc and everything showing this. Now he went to Syria to promote his foreign policy. I guess no one told this POS that he got his ass kicked in 2008. they won’t say a thing about their BFF

  • thomas

    Stop watching and Listening to CNN ! also abc, cbs,nbc all are basically fake news today. You have the Power to end them all.

  • bearone7777


  • True. The sad truth is that the “National Enquirer” is now actually a far better and much more reliable news source than CNN! Next time you’re in a store, check it out & see if it ain’t so.

  • They could always go to work for ” the Weekly World News”.

  • alfie0077

    The term bigot is used by the Catholics as a means of intimidation.

    When the truth is told, the ‘bigot’ card is worthless.
    Intimidation, then domination, then invasion, then conquest, then elimination. Be Catholic or be dead.
    This has been true for a thousand years. The method works, so why change.
    It worked with Hitler (Catholic) in Germany. It is working in the USA now.
    YOU have to acknowledge the problem. YOU have to take action.
    Call it like it is…l.. Political correct will get us all killed.
    Remember the phrase of the Catholics —
    “god before country”. The translation is “Vatican oppressors before the USA” The Vatican oppressors is a foreign hostile nation to every other nation.
    This is treason. They cannot faithfully perform duties for the USA.
    Vote for ANY Catholic and the borders will never be secured.
    Yeah lots of Catholics have died.. Lots more are destroying the nation.
    Just remember one of the famous Catholics Benedict Arnold! Now that is one of your heroes~! Also do not forget Adolph Hitler, who really did a job for ‘freedom of speech’.

  • Ron C

    roger that.

  • Askjrsk


  • Askjrsk

    They can’t even lie correctly at CNN . PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP says FAKE NEWS is the enemy of WE THE PEOPLE. CNN reports —–omitting the vital adjective — ” Fake” report simply that PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP said
    “News” is the enemy of America. Goofy. Commentator tonight noted this isn’t about being false or fake it’s about LIES AND LYING . Call them what they really are LIARS.

  • catluvr

    Media may be watchdog of the govt, but we the people are watchdogs of the media. Boycott Fake News Outlets. BTW Time Warner owns CNN. I invite you to write their corporate offices a letter or send them an email. I did.

  • catluvr

    I very strongly disagree with your anti-Catholic bias.

  • catluvr

    Shut up, JERK.

  • alfie0077

    Ok, show me a successful Catholic nation. Hey, you have a hundred to pick from just south of the USA.
    A hundred nations, a thousand years, and exactly a 100% failure rate.

  • alfie0077

    Bigot: a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people. Note the word UNFAIRLY.

    Observation of proven failure forever is not ‘bigotry’. This would be observation,
    not bigotry.

    Observe and then decide if you are voting for a destruction of the USA.

    Questions to ask yourself:

    How many successful Catholic nations are there? Proven failure is a factor in future projections.

    Save the USA! Vote wisely, not by knee jerk dogma and propaganda.

    Assignment: give me a nice long list of a successful Catholic nation … Hey, you have a
    hundred to choose from all just south of the USA… I am waiting.

  • alfie0077

    Now it is the ‘CATHOLIC ‘news’ Network

  • alfie0077

    CATHOLIC news net.

  • alfie0077

    Cuba= Catholic CNN CATHOLIC news net.

  • alfie0077

    Catholic, CATHOLIC…….. CNN =CATHOLIC news net.

  • alfie0077

    NO Catholic is an AMERICAN!

  • jaimelmanzano

    CNN’s license and use of the public spectrum should be vhallenged for misinforming, and misleading, the public, using politically fabricated opinion damaging to a fair and accurate report in a national election that they are legally responsible to present.

  • Peter

    Don’t play their game any longer, letting them set the terms. Get the message out clearly and decisively, once and for all, that fake news used to be called propaganda. FAKE NEWS = PROPAGANDA. PROPAGANDA = BULLSHIT. BULLSHIT = FAKE NEWS.

  • Peter

    The purpose of the 1st Amendment – free speech and freedom of the press is to keep the government in line, keeping it above reproach, thereby keeping the people free.
    When the free press loses sight of that purpose, it has outlived its usefulness enabling corruption in government, leading to enslavement of the people.
    At this point freedom of the press and free speech, empowered by the 1st Amendment, would be detrimental to the freedom of the people, and therefore better off dissolved, abolished and obliterated, as it is now used as a government disinformation and propaganda machine, instead of protecting the freedoms of the people by keeping them properly informed of a wayward government.
    What remains will be some form of USSA PRAVDA , official government mouthpiece to propagandize the people to keep THEM in line.
    The demise of freedom of the press, and freedom of the people is thereby accomplished.
    They have been equivocated by equivocation.
    The scene is being set to abolish the 1st Amendment as it has failed its purpose.
    This In turn sets the scene for loss of freedom of the people.
    Killing two unwanted birds with one stone is called EQUIVOCATION. Pitting one ‘unwanted’ aspect or enemy against the other ‘unwanted’ aspect or enemy. The EQUIVOCATOR wins without raising a finger, just watching it happen.
    EQUIVOCATION is the mark of Jesuitism. In fact one of the meanings of ‘Jesuit’ is ‘equivocator’. He is your dissembler. Concise Oxford Dictionary 1964.

  • TED

    And, of course, to all you wingnut GOPpers, FAUX NEWS is the Gold Standard!

    Kelly Conway invented “alternative facts” … which would suggest the bu**sh** that emanates from the White House is, in truth, the fountain of “fake news” … making “fact-checking”, rather than “reporting”, the main work of the mainstream media

  • TED

    So, like Kincaid, you’re a racist anti-Catholic, too???

  • TED

    “A proven fact” ??? Let’s see the proof … and the methodology used to arrive at that scientific conclusion … a proven fact!


  • TED

    Sick, southern, *******!

  • TED


  • alfie0077

    Nah, just anti traitor, anti Catholic, same same.

  • Alan Stanwyck

    They dont even do any actual work. They just wait for Nancy Pelosi and other corrupt members of government to send their daily script.

  • Alan Stanwyck

    The problem is a part of how we got here. The Telecommunications act of 1996 signed into law by you know who. It basically ended all restrictions to the media so that today Time Warner and Comcast own like 95% of the media (and plenty outside the us too). We need to get it repealed and break up the monopolies!

  • Alan Stanwyck

    The other day they had “breaking news” about something they already reported on in December. Its bullshit. They keep doing that sort of thing- new questions are raised but they dont seem interested in asking anybody for the answer which had been obtained by other networks