Piers Morgan, editor-at-large at dailymail.com and former anchor at CNN, told TMZ on Tuesday that what CNN did in publishing fake news about President Donald Trump, his allies, and the alleged ties to Russia is “dangerous” and that the media outlet “cut corners” to advance its “obsessive” anti-Trump narrative.
“I think the whole thing has been a huge embarrassment for CNN,” Morgan said. “Not just this video that’s come out, but also, of course, that fact that they’ve had to effectively fire three of their top journalists.
“Now, I worked for CNN for four years, and they take journalism very seriously,” Morgan said. “It has to, though I want to put this out there.
“It has not come as a massive surprise that CNN’s run into trouble with Trump and Russia, though, because they’ve been pushing and pushing and pushing in what seems to me to be a very overly obsessive way — this narrative that Trump is guilty of collusion with the Russians, and it’s only a matter of time before they prove it,” Morgan said.
Morgan said he thinks the network is motivated by ratings and the money that comes with good ratings but that that mentality leads to “cutting corners.”
“I think that leads to cutting corners, and I think that what you’ve seen with this story — it was a single source story — the original story published last week,” Morgan said. “That’s very unusual for CNN — a single source, an anonymous story making a bombshell revelation that turns out not to be true.
“I think that kind of corner cutting on the journalism happens when basically you want something to be true so much because it supports your narrative that you just cut too many corners,” Morgan said. “And I think that’s dangerous for CNN.”
CNN has been in the crosshairs since a Breitbart News investigation last week revealed that the media outlet published what President Donald Trump has called “very fake news” and was forced to retract its single, anonymous-source story, which was objectively false.
The source said the Senate intelligence committee is investigating the Russian fund in connection with its examination of discussions between White House adviser Jared Kushner and the head of a prominent Russian bank. The bank, Vnesheconombank, or VEB, oversees the fund, which has ties to several Trump advisers. Both the bank and the fund have been covered since 2014 by sanctions restricting U.S. business dealings.
In a statement late Friday night, CNN’s retraction said, “On June 22, 2017, CNN.com published a story connecting Anthony Scaramucci with investigations into the Russian Direct Investment Fund,” continuing, “That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled. CNN apologizes to Mr. Scaramucci.”
Three CNN journalists consequently resigned.
“CNN said Monday that three journalists, including the executive editor in charge of a new investigative unit, have resigned after the publication of a Russia-related article that was retracted,” CNN’s Brian Stelter reported late Monday. “Thomas Frank, who wrote the story in question; Eric Lichtblau, an editor in the unit; and Lex Haris, who oversaw the unit, have all left CNN.”
The devastating undercover video came from James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas. The video shows a senior CNN producer caught on camera by one of O’Keefe’s investigators admitting that the network’s relentless bashing of President Donald Trump with the Russia scandal lacks proof.
“Could be bullshit. I mean, it’s mostly bullshit right now,” the CNN producer, John Bonifield, said when asked about his thoughts on the Russian investigation in the video, which was released by O’Keefe’s Project Veritas on Tuesday.
“Like, we don’t have any giant proof,” Bonifield said. “Then they say, well, there’s still an investigation going on. And you’re like, yeah, I don’t know.
“If they were finding something we would know about it,” Bonifield said. “The way these leaks happen, they would leak it.
“They’d leak,” Bonifield said. “If it was something really good, it would leak. … The leaks keep leaking, and there’s so many great leaks, and it’s amazing.
“I just refuse to believe that if they had something really good like that that wouldn’t leak because we’ve been getting all these other leaks,” Bonifield said. “So I just feel like they don’t really have it, but they want to keep digging.”
“And so I think the president is probably right to say, like, ‘Look, you are witch hunting me,’” Bonifield said. “You have no smoking gun. You have no real proof.’”