In this day and age when news moves so quickly, news outlets struggle to keep pace with the flood of information while reporting accurately, and CNN is no exception.
During the campaign cycle, CNN made some mistakes with its reporting. But when called out for its mistakes, more often than not, the network defended itself or tried to place the blame on another entity.
Here are three times CNN tried to cover up its mistakes:
1. Coverage of Ben Carson’s “Very Unusual” Decision to Go Home After the Iowa Caucus
Just hours before the Iowa Caucus began on February 1, 2016, CNN reported that former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson would go home to Florida rather than travel to New Hampshire to campaign ahead of that crucial state’s primary.
CNN reporters Jake Tapper and Dana Bash described Carson’s decision to go home as “very unusual.”
Here’s where it gets hairy. Carson lost the Iowa Caucus and in part blamed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for spreading rumors that Carson was dropping out of the race and encouraging Carson supporters to coalesce around Cruz.
Cruz later apologized saying “It was a mistake from our end,” but the Texas senator also placed some of the blame on the way CNN characterized Carson’s announcement in a statement he released the following day:
Image Credit: Joshua Lott/Getty Images
“Last night when our political team saw the CNN post saying that Dr. Carson was not carrying on to New Hampshire and South Carolina, our campaign updated grassroots leaders just as we would with any breaking news story.”
CNN denied that Tapper and Bash’s reporting played a role in leading anyone to believe that Carson would drop out of the race, in one report saying, “CNN had not characterized Carson’s actions that way.”
“Look, if you want to be president of the United States, you don’t go home to Florida. That’s just the bottom line. That’s the end of the story.”
Rather, CNN Money published a rebuttal with this headline “Ted Cruz’s claims about CNN are ‘false.'”
2. Anger Over an Incorrect Quote from a White Supremacist Appearing On-Screen.
Two months ago, while filling in for CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead,” Jim Sciutto was covering a quote from prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer about members of the media.
CNN reported that Spencer was speaking about Jews when he questioned if “these people are people at all.”
Here is the segment. That chryon. These times. pic.twitter.com/5vXn5GM7ll
— Colin Jones (@colinjones) November 21, 2016
Following the firestorm on social media for putting Spencer’s sentiments on the chyron (the caption that appears in the lower portion of a news broadcast), Jake Tapper tweeted:
yes, I'm off this week and I'm furious about that chyron and my staff has heard from me. Unacceptable.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 22, 2016
Sciutto voiced his disapproval with the chyron:
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) November 22, 2016
Here’s is the video of Spencer’s speech that led to CNN’s story. However, Spencer was not talking about Jews, he was talking about members of the media:
3. “You Are Fake News!”
On January 10th, CNN published a report about a two-page memo compiled by intelligence agencies that claims Russia has compromising information on President-elect Donald Trump. The article noted that reporters at CNN had seen a longer 35-page dossier but decided against publishing it:
“CNN has reviewed a 35-page compilation of the memos, from which the two-page synopsis was drawn … CNN is not reporting on details of the memos, as it has not independently corroborated the specific allegations.”
BuzzFeed published a report with the headline: “These Reports Allege Donald Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia.”
BuzzFeed also published the 35-page dossier detailing the alleged ties that Trump has to Russia. The explosive dossier claims that Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to meet with Russian officials to discuss a cash payment in exchange for Russian hacking.Image Credit: Screenshot/BuzzFeed
The reporting by both CNN and BuzzFeed drew criticism by other news outlets for their decision to publish reports on information they could not confirm.
During his first press conference in 167 days, Donald Trump lashed out at CNN and called BuzzFeed a “failing pile of garbage.” CNN reporter Jim Acosta asked if he could respond “since you’re attacking us,” which led to this testy exchange:
In a statement released after the press conference, CNN defended its reporting and asked the Trump transition team to clarify what part of its report was inaccurate. BuzzFeed Editor in Chief Ben Smith defended the decision to publish the 35-page report and said he was “not going to participate in an attempt to divide the media against each other.”
Jake Tapper also defended his network’s reporting, though he acknowledged that the two-page memo was not corroborated by intelligence officials. You can watch that clip below:
After Trump’s beatdown, CNN’s reporters claimed that Trump wants a contentious relationship with the network and refused to accept any responsibility in the spreading of “fake news.”