Accuracy in Media

CNN’s featured headline this morning was “Trump loses in tax return subpoena ruling,” after President Donald Trump saw his lawsuit tossed by a federal judge. Trump’s lawsuit challenged the state of New York and wanted to prevent his tax returns from being released to a New York grand jury.

New York is suing Trump for access to his tax returns on the grounds that the Trump Organization violated state laws, such as filing false business records in order to find money to reimburse Michael Cohen. Cohen is in prison after pleading guilty for tax fraud, making false statements to a financial institution, unlawful corporate contributions, and excessive campaign contributions. The state alleged that Cohen’s illegal practices permitted Trump to pay hush money to individuals like Stormy Daniels, who claimed that Trump had an extramarital affair with her.

However, soon after the ruling, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the ruling and granted the Trump team a temporary stay. Meaning, the Trump team does not have to turn over his tax returns to New York.

NBC News covered the news of the temporary stay in their article, headlined, “Trump wins delay in New York court fight over producing his tax returns.” Axios reported on the stay in their write-up and noted that it is the third time that the Trump team sued to block the release of his tax returns.

But instead of publishing a standalone article on the temporary stay, CNN stuck with its original article about Trump losing the initial ruling. In the original article, it included the information that the tax returns’ release is delayed, which is not reflected in the headline. CNN wrote, “An attorney for Trump filed an emergency notice of appeal to the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals minutes after the district court judge filed his decision, and the appeals court immediately ordered a temporary stay of the subpoena.”

CNN should accurately convey information, such as this, to the public and its audiences. Although Trump lost the initial ruling to prevent his tax returns being released, he won a temporary stay to block the release. CNN should accurately represent the legal proceedings and not promote inaccurate news.

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