Accuracy in Media

NBC retracted its false reporting that Michael Cohen’s phones were wiretapped prior to the FBI raiding his home, office and hotel room last month. NBC later changed its story. NBC then reported that investigators weren’t recording calls of Cohen, a longtime lawyer for President Donald Trump, but simply tracking phone numbers, or logging metadata about ingoing and outgoing calls surrounding an alleged payment Cohen made to an adult film actress who claimed she had an affair with Trump more than a decade ago.

Various news reports indicate that federal investigators were using a “pen register,” or a dialed number recorder, on at least one of Cohen’s phones. The device tracks all numbers dialed from a monitored phone number, along with the length of the call.

Per NBC News: “CORRECTION: Earlier today, NBC News reported that there was a wiretap on the phones of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal attorney, citing two separate sources with knowledge of the legal proceedings involving Cohen. But three senior U.S. officials now dispute that, saying that the monitoring of Cohen’s phones was limited to a log of calls, known as a pen register, not a wiretap where investigators can actually listen to calls. NBC News has changed the headline and revised parts of the original article.”

The NBC reporting relies heavily on unnamed sources, meaning a judge had given investigators approval to listen to phone calls, with various sources saying contradictory statements in various versions of its reporting.

Given this NBC walk back, it’s no wonder that President Trump was upset about the flawed reporting. He tweeted:

“NBC NEWS is wrong again! They cite ‘sources’ which are constantly wrong. Problem is, like so many others, the sources probably don’t exist, they are fabricated, fiction! NBC, my former home with the Apprentice, is now as bad as Fake News CNN. Sad!”


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