The “Russiagate” hysteria is set to reach a new height on Thursday, when former FBI Director James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of their investigation into connections between Russia and the Trump 2016 campaign.
While Comey’s name has dominated mainstream media headlines, his actual statements have forced one major outlet to admit that its trusted “anonymous” sources had the wrong information.
On Wednesday morning, CNN reported on Twitter that in his testimony, “Comey will dispute President Trump’s blanket claim that he was told he wasn’t under investigation.”
However, CNN’s own claim appeared to be disputed by Comey, himself. Comey released a statement detailing the prepared remarks for his opening statement on Wednesday. In it, Comey said he told President Trump on three separate occasions that he was not the subject of a counterintelligence investigation.
“I discussed with the FBI’s leadership team whether I should be prepared to assure President-Elect Trump that we were not investigating him personally. That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him. We agreed I should do so if circumstances warranted. During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President-Elect Trump’s reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance.”
Following the release of Comey’s prepared testimony, CNN changed course. The title on its story about Comey’s hearing was changed to “Comey unlikely to judge on obstruction.”
The same anonymous sources who before told CNN that Comey was sure to dispute Trump’s claim that he was under investigation, now apparently said, “Comey is not likely to offer his conclusion about whether the President obstructed justice regarding the agency's Russia investigation.”
Following the changes, CNN did preface the updated version of their story with a “correction,” which acknowledged that Comey did assure Trump multiple times that he was not under investigation, and Comey does not appear to have plans to say otherwise.
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“CORRECTION AND UPDATE: This article was published before Comey released his prepared opening statement. The article and headline have been corrected to reflect that Comey does not directly dispute that Trump was told multiple times he was not under investigation in his prepared testimony released after this story was published.”
This is not the first time CNN has landed in hot water for promoting the essence of its favorite blanket term—fake news. In fact, earlier this week, The Free Thought Project reported that CNN was caught staging a fake scene to propagandize viewers.
While there were numerous Muslim groups standing in solidarity with the victims of a recent terrorist attack in London, CNN opted to stage its own scene. Instead of finding an ongoing demonstration, the outlet worked with police to set up its own solidarity protest, which looked like it was straight from the scene of a movie.
CNN is also the same network that warned viewers in October 2016 about the dangers of reading documents published by WikiLeaks. As Anchor Chris Cuomo explained to viewers, “Remember, it’s illegal to possess these stolen documents.”
“It’s different for the media, so everything you learn about this [latest Wikileaks’ revelations] you’re learning from us,” Cuomo said.
The use of anonymous sources in journalism was once a sacred custom for the purpose of releasing vital information, while protecting the source’s identity from harm. However, CNN’s latest retraction, which was based on claims made by an alleged anonymous source, serves as a reminder that the tradition has been used and abused by the mainstream media.
When the same fire surrounding the idea that the Russian government intentionally influenced the U.S. election in 2016, was fueled by claims made by vague, anonymous sources promoted by the mainstream media, is it any wonder that those alleged sources would follow the same script?