Since Donald Trump moved into office as POTUS 45, he has been the central focus of foreign media outfits. Each speech he makes, each tweet he posts is put under the microscope and scrutinized harshly. And when Russia was discovered, the pitchforks descended.
It’s hard to escape the “media bias” when it comes to Trump (not that he helps any, what with false statements here and there, his aggravating grandstanding and half-baked decisions that make you wonder “What a POTUS”) and now that bias has cost CNN their reputation. Piers Morgan seems to think so, at least. These are our takeaways from his latest article.
1 CNN has a new motto
‘CNN, the most trusted name in news,’ bellows James Earl Jones morning, noon and night during the network’s 24/7 programming.
Well, not today it isn’t.
In arguably the most humiliating moment in its history, CNN just accepted resignations from three of its top journalists over a story they got horrendously wrong about President Trump and Russia.
It couldn’t have come at a worse time for CNN, or involved a worse kind of story.
Its war with Trump has escalated on an almost daily basis since he won the presidency.
He furiously brands CNN ‘Fake News’.
Wow, CNN had to retract big story on "Russia," with 3 employees forced to resign. What about all the other phony stories they do? FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2017
2. American Democracy on the line
CNN, in turn, mocks and berates him at every turn and devotes huge resources toward trying to expose him.
It’s a toxic, abusive relationship that’s got so vicious and vengeful it threatens to imperil the very cornerstone of democracy, freedom of speech.
Now, CNN’s high moral ground has crumbled beneath it in spectacular style.
And it’s collapsed because all those involved forgot the golden rule of journalism: if it seems too good to be true, it probably IS too good to be true.
3. Hungry to bury Trump
Last Thursday, CNN.com blasted out a new ‘bombshell’ exclusive about Trump and Russia.
It was the latest in a relentless barrage of similar Russia-related scoops by award-hungry mainstream media organisations desperately trying to prove Trump and/or his campaign team colluded with Russians, possibly as high up as Vladimir Putin, to fix the 2016 US Election.
Yet to date, there remains not a shred of hard evidence to nail the swirling maelstrom of rumours and scurrilous headlines.
Hence, no doubt, CNN’s wild over-excitement at finally getting a lead on what seemed like a possible game-changing piece of information.
It reported the Senate Intelligence Committee was investigating a potentially highly compromising link between Anthony Scaramucci, a prominent ally of Trump, and a $10 billion Russian investment fund.
CNN claimed Scaramucci met with the fund’s chief executive Kirill Dmitriev four days before the inauguration.
CNN further stated the investment fund was a part of Russian state bank Vnesheconombank, which is listed in a set of sanctions issued by the US government.
Democratic senators, CNN alleged, wanted to know whether Scaramucci indicated in that meeting if sanctions against Russia would be lifted.
If this story was true, it carried hugely damaging implications: here was a close ally of Trump’s caught in cahoots with Putin-backed moneymen in flagrant breach of sanctions.
4. Caught in a lie
But it wasn’t true.
There is no such Senate probe, there was no formal meeting and the fund is not even backed by a Russian state bank.
Within 24 hours, the story was roundly debunked and CNN removed it from its website. The network also apologised to Mr Scaramucci and has now fired the story’s author, Pulitzer Prize nominee Thomas Frank, along with Eric Lichtblau, an assistant managing editor in CNN’s Washington bureau, and Lex Harris, head of CNN’s investigations unit.
Their rapid departures show just how badly this incident has dented CNN’s reputation and just how angry it has made Jeff Zucker, its president.
5. CNN by-the-book
I know how seriously CNN takes its journalism, because I worked there for four years and experienced its strict standards and practices policies at first hand.
When Hurricane Sandy hit Manhattan in 2012, CNN’s respected meteorologist reported live on my then show Piers Morgan Live that the stock exchange had been engulfed in several feet of water.
It was a huge development that would affect global financial markets.
However, it wasn’t true.
We corrected this erroneous fact within 30 minutes, but I remember there being a massive and lengthy week-long inquest later into how it had been aired without the required double-sourcing procedures.
Everyone involved was left in no doubt that such a mistake was not acceptable at CNN with dire consequences for any repetition.
6. CNN’s awkward own goal
This cock-up, though, is on a completely different scale because it has single-handedly destroyed CNN’s indignant denial of Trump’s ‘Fake News!’ charge.
The Scaramucci story was fake news. End.
And it was a story designed to cause great damage to Trump as he battles the potentially presidency-ending allegation that he colluded with Russians.
So how did this fiasco happen?
7. Trump-bashing, the new money spinner
I fear the answer probably lies in that lethal combination of commercial greed and laziness.
CNN has enjoyed soaring ratings with its relentless, mostly negative focus on Trump’s presidency. That, in turn, has led to soaring profits.
The equation is simple: Trump-bashing = $$$.
They are not the only ones to do this; from MSNBC to Stephen Colbert, there are myriad media entities and shows currently cashing in big time by whacking Trump.
But with that success comes complacency.
8. This is not Watergate
CNN reported this story because it was desperate to report this story.
It was proof, finally, that a key Trump ally was up to his neck in financial filth with the Russians.
‘Follow the money’ was the Watergate journalists’ mantra, and it finally got them their man.
CNN’s own versions of Bernstein and Woodward clearly thought they were doing the same.
But they cut corners, apparently relying on just one anonymous source.
And that source turned out to be wrong – gifting Trump a PR touchdown he won’t stop triumphantly ball-spiking for a very long time.
When he shouts ‘Fake News’ at CNN now, it will carry some factual weight.
But there’s a wider issue here, and that’s the increasingly hostile relationship between the White House and the US mainstream media.
9. Trump vs CNN: Neither wear the white hat
Both sides are to blame.
The White House, for flying too economically with the truth and playing silly point-scoring games with the media.
And the media, for its unprecedented hysterical bias against Trump, and its endless self-aggrandizing ‘Gotcha!’ antics in pressers and on air – most of which is designed to command the journalists viral video adoration on social media.
The effect of this mutually assured poison is to ratchet up the already appallingly febrile political atmosphere in America between left and right.
The kind of partisan rage that leads a mentally unbalanced man to shoot a Congressman on a baseball field.
It’s got to stop.
Donald Trump is the President of the United States, a title he won in a fair, democratic election. He’s not perfect but nor is he the monster some of his critics portray him to be.
CNN remains a great news network, notwithstanding this terrible error.
Both need to treat each other with more respect and fairness.
I suggest this would be a very good time for them to start.
This article was culled from Daily Mail.