Accuracy in Media

CNN’s terrible year continued this week with the network walking back a story on to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his security clearance forms.

“First on CNN: AG Sessions did not disclose Russia meetings in security clearance form, DOJ says,” CNN wrote in a headline May 25.

Sessions “did not disclose meetings he had last year with Russian officials when he applied for his security clearance, the Justice Department told CNN Wednesday.”

Sessions met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, but did not note them on the form, which “requires him to list ‘any contact’ he or his family had with a ‘foreign government’ or its ‘representatives’ over the past seven years,” the story said.

CNN reported this was further evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump team. But Sessions said the FBI told him not to list meetings “connected with his Senate activities.”

A CNN legal expert who “regularly assists officials in filling out the form disagrees with the Justice Department’s explanation, suggesting that Sessions should have disclosed the meetings.”

But documents have come to light that reveal Sessions was right – the FBI did tell him he didn’t have to disclose the foreign contacts that occurred carrying out his duties as a senator.

“The newly released email supports the explanation Sessions gave last May when CNN reported on its security form,” CNN’s Evan Perez read over the network at 5:39 a.m. Monday.

It was the second such humiliation for the network in three days. On Friday, the network had to correct what it considered a bombshell report that Donald Trump Jr. had been offered the Democratic National Committee emails before they were published by Wikileaks. In fact, he merely had been urged to look at them after they had come out.

It has not been a good year for the network. In June, CNN reported FBI Director James Comey was prepared to testify to Congress Donald Trump had lied when he said Comey had assured him three times he was not under FBI investigation. Later that day, Comey’s opening statement was released, and he had confirmed – not denied – Trump’s version of events.

Three employees were forced out in July after they produced a story that claimed Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci was being investigated for his ties to Russian bankers. The story turned out to be fake news from unidentified sources.

The network claimed in October that a Republican donor was responsible for funding the anti-Trump GPS dossier. Actually, a Republican donor had paid Fusion GPS for routine opposition research on all the Republican presidential candidates, including Trump. The dossier was prepared under a different contract.

On Trump’s recent Asian trip, he was videotaped feeding koi with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. At the end, the video shows Trump dumping out what was remaining in his box of food into the water, for which CNN mocked him. Later, it had to walk this back as well … Trump dumped out his koi only after the prime minister had indicated he should do so.

All this was enough for John Nolte of Breitbart to declare that “science proves media are not making ‘honest mistakes’ about Trump.”

Nolte says if you flip a coin 100 times, it will land equally on heads and tails. So, if these and other stories were honest mistakes, as the media claims, some should mistakenly favor Trump or his point of view.

“But that is not what we are seeing from our national media, and already we are way, way, way beyond 100 coin flips,” Nolte wrote. “In just the last 10 days, the national media have been caught red-handed telling no fewer than 11 consequential lies. And …

“Every honest mistake comes up tails for Trump.




“If you believe in science, math, and history, the only conclusion you can come to is that these are not honest mistakes; rather, these are deliberate and calculated lies told by deliberate and calculating liars.”

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