Accuracy in Media

CNN’s Brian Stelter called out the Washington Post, New York Times, and NBC News after they retracted stories about Rudy Giuliani and the FBI raid on his apartment.

The Post first reported on Thursday that Giuliani was warned by the FBI in 2019 that he was the target of a Russian misinformation campaign and claimed that One America News Network received a similar warning.

On Saturday the Post issued a correction saying it had removed assertions that Giuliani and OAN had received such warnings.

“An earlier version of this story, published Thursday, incorrectly reported that One America News was warned by the FBI that it was the target of a Russian influence operation,” the correction reads in part. 

“That version also said the FBI had provided a similar warning to Rudolph W. Giuliani, which he has since disputed. This version has been corrected to remove assertions that OAN and Giuliani received the warnings,” the Post stated.

The Times also  ran a correction on Saturday saying Giuliani had not received a “so-called defensive briefing.”

“An earlier version of this article misstated whether Rudolph W. Giuliani received a formal warning from the F.B.I. about Russian disinformation. Mr. Giuliani did not receive such a so-called defensive briefing,” the Times said.

NBC followed suit on Saturday afternoon with a correction that said the FBI prepared a briefing but never delivered it because of concerns that it could complicate the investigation into Giuliani. 

“The new story is that FBI planned to warn Rudy and OAN they might be used as Russian puppets, but they didn’t actually deliver the warning,” Stelter summarized.

CNN senior media editor Oliver Darcy acknowledged that this type of mistake can occur when news organizations rely on anonymous sources for their information.

“In this case, that appears to be what has happened with all of these news organizations,” Darcy said. “The bottom line is there are safeguards in place, unfortunately, human error is still at play and news organizations sometimes do get burned like this.”

Stelter called it “a major black eye” and lamented that “a bogus report of this magnitude” will allow “bad faith actors” to delegitimize the media despite what he said were their efforts to get the story right the first time.

Darcy praised the news organizations for owning up to the error and accused the MAGA media of intentionally promoting falsehoods and moving on without making a correction.

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