Accuracy in Media


CNN published an article on the Michael Flynn unmasking controversy, but there was no mention of evidence that could prove Michael Flynn’s alleged innocence. The 1,400-plus-word article discussed national security operating procedures in unmasking, but it did not delve into details about Flynn’s specific case.

The cable news network headlined its take on the Flynn investigation, “GOP senators release list of Obama officials in latest effort to undermine Russia probe.”

The overarching messages that CNN put to its readers were that unmasking was not atypical for any presidential administration and that recently-released documents identifying Obama officials’ names “do not prove any wrongdoing.” CNN explained the unmasking process to readers and insisted that “standard procedures were followed.”

However, CNN’s article missed the point of the unmasking revelations. Although the network asserted that the Trump administration was trying “to rewrite the history of the Russia investigation and discredit Biden,” it did not outline how the FBI investigation might have been unfair toward Flynn and therefore it could have been a miscarriage of justice.

CNN did not acknowledge that the Department of Justice found several inconsistencies in the FBI’s files about its interrogation of Flynn and its own internal discussions. First, a senior FBI official asked his colleagues whether their goal was to get Flynn fired.

Second, FBI officials convinced Flynn not to have a lawyer present in their conversation, which was a departure from typical FBI procedures. Lastly, FBI agent Peter Strzok insisted that his FBI colleagues in Washington, D.C., should keep the investigation open when they were about to close it. The agents said that they did not find enough evidence to validate keeping the case open.

CNN did not present any of these facts to its readers, which were part of the reasons behind the Department of Justice moving to dismiss the government’s case against Flynn.




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