CNN throws in the towel on fake Russian news
CNN has dismantled its vaunted Trump-colluded-with-the-Russians investigative unit in a wretched concession to reality. The only thing the unit found was an empty well for stories, surrounded by a crust of fake news. The whole caper damaged the network's credibility, and the public just wasn't buying it anymore. So the whole unit had to go.
What a shabby end to what the network had put so much stock in in the heady days of trying to oust President Trump just as he had taken office.
The New York Times attributes the unit's sorry end to confusion in the fact-checking process – which is baloney for anyone who has ever worked in a newsroom – claiming that on one bad story, a lawyer's concerns were ignored. That's not the way it works in most newsrooms – normally, the lawyer has the loudest voice about what goes to press, given the potential for lawsuits, much to the resentment of the reporters. Well, the CNN editors ignored it and paid for it with their jobs when it came back to bite them.
Another problem the Times mentions but doesn't dwell on is the issue of single-source reporting – from political partisans. Of course a single-source report from a political partisan is going to yield a bad result. This is why reporters are supposed to add value and put out something different from press releases. Well, CNN opted to go for single sources, which is testimony in the Times' mind to the pressure the network was under to produce something.
The only reason the people at CNN were unable to produce is that there was no there there. And that's the real reason for the unit's ignominious end. The news project was not premised on finding the truth, as real journalism is supposed to, but on confirming the left's deepest rage, resentment, and fear – that the election was stolen from them by the hated Russians. That was the root of all the fake news that came of the unit, such as claims that certain Trump administration officials were under investigation when they were not and errant reporting about James Comey.
Setting up a unit to confirm an ideological bias from an embittered losing party is no way to get bang for the news buck, which is the cash and resources that go into investigative reporting. There has to be a there there, and there wasn't any there there on the Russia story. There wasn't even an audience.
Maybe if CNN can learn to curb its ideological biases and refocus on reporting the news without fear or favor, it might just return to what it used to be. As it is now, its reputation lies in ruins.