The very fake news scandal engulfing CNN just erupted again on Wednesday afternoon as CNN’s Chris Cillizza published demonstrably fake news.
What’s more, Cillizza’s significant mistake ropes two more CNN anchors—Kate Bolduan and Brooke Baldwin—into the very fake news scandal touching nearly every single person at CNN.
The fake news from Cillizza specifically was meant to rebut President Donald Trump’s attacks on the fake media after the nothing story about a supposed extra, previously unreported “meeting” with Russian president Vladimir Putin at the recent G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany.
Many media outlets went haywire on Tuesday when the extra “meeting” with Putin went public, but the fake news reports were debunked quickly by a White House statement detailing there was nothing extraordinary or wrong whatsoever with what Trump and Putin did during the dinner at the G20 summit. The fake news reports fell apart quickly, as Breitbart News’s Kristina Wong detailed.
Then, late Tuesday, Trump Tweeted that the fake media’s efforts have now become “sick.”
Fake News story of secret dinner with Putin is "sick." All G 20 leaders, and spouses, were invited by the Chancellor of Germany. Press knew!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2017
The Fake News is becoming more and more dishonest! Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2017
In response to Trump’s Tuesday night Tweets, Cillizza published an analysis piece on CNN’s website on Wednesday attempting to challenge the accuracy of the president’s statements. The move backfired significantly, as Cillizza made a number of inaccurate statements himself—thereby becoming a fake news purveyor.
“No media outlet reported anything about a ‘secret dinner,’” Cillizza wrote. “No one is making the dinner look ‘sinister.’ And, no one is suggesting that the media was unaware that the dinner was taking place.”
On Twitter, Cillizza took his fake news even further by Tweeting a link to his fake news CNN piece: “Again, NO ONE is saying the meeting was private or secret. NO ONE.”
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) July 19, 2017
Interestingly, Cillizza’s inaccurate assertion that “NO ONE” said the meeting was “private or secret” is debunked by, among other places, his employer CNN.
On the same day that Cillizza published his fake news—Wednesday, July 19—two different CNN anchors contradicted his assertion that nobody said the meeting was “secret” live on air on CNN.
Brooke Baldwin, a CNN anchor, twice referred to the meeting as a “secret sitdown” between Trump and Putin—and even at one point asked, “Why didn’t we know about this?”
Another time, Baldwin said live on CNN, “These two presidents, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, did not disclose a second meeting until now.”
Kate Bolduan, another CNN anchor, also repeated the line that it was a “secret” meeting between Trump and Putin.
Bolduan on Wednesday called it a “secret and second sitdown between the president and Russian president Vladimir Putin. Why wasn’t the meeting revealed? What was discussed? And who knows what really was said?”
Also on Wednesday, Bolduan described the meeting a second time live on CNN as “secret.”
She called it “a secret sitdown between the President and Vladimir Putin. Only three people know what they said at all, what was talked about, how unusual is this? Did it break any rules? Can it happen again? And why wasn’t it revealed that they met for a second time?”
CNN’s own anchors are not the only people who debunk CNN’s Cillizza. His old colleague at the Washington Post’s The Fix, Aaron Blake, discredits him as well. On Twitter on Wednesday morning, Blake described the meeting as “secret” when he asked: “Why did Trump meet secretly with Putin?”
The headline of Blake’s piece for the Washington Post section that Cillizza used to edit linked in that Tweet also refers to the meeting as “secret.”
Salon’s Matthew Rozsa, in a headline, called it a “secret” meeting between Trump and Putin.
The Financial Times, in its own piece, called the meeting “secret” in its headline and “private” in the sub-headline, debunking Cillizza’s piece as purely fake news on all accounts.
CNN spokespersons Lauren Pratapas, Emily Kuhn, Liza Pluto, and Richard Hudock have refused to comment on this latest grave error by the network. When sent all of the above evidence, they have not answered a request for comment from Breitbart News and continue refusing to make network president Jeff Zucker available for an interview to explain the serious journalistic problems that have cast significant doubt on whether CNN follows normal ethics procedures.
Pratapas, Kuhn, Pluto, and Hudock specifically will not answer whether Cillizza’s piece and Tweet will be retracted and corrected, or whether Bolduan and Baldwin will appear on television to retract and correct their statements—since both Cillizza’s piece and their multiple statements live on CNN’s airwaves cannot be true.
The network spokespeople also refuse to answer whether anyone will be held accountable for this latest error. This is the latest in a long line of serious issues ripping CNN apart from the inside since the network was forced to retract a blatantly inaccurate piece about Trump associate and SkyBridge Capital Founder Anthony Scaramucci.
Several weeks ago, CNN ran a false piece accusing Scaramucci of holding a “meeting” with a Russian banking executive in Switzerland at the Davos conference—a “meeting” that was not really a meeting, but rather, as Scaramucci said, someone approaching him in a public venue. The network accused Scaramucci of being both under Senate Intelligence Committee and Treasury Department investigation for it—both accusations are untrue.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is not probing the matter, Breitbart News found in its own investigation into the subject, and the Treasury Department—at the urging of a conspiracy theory forwarded at the beginning of the administration by Sen. Liz Warren (D-MA) before Trump’s inauguration—has already looked into and determined it to be entirely “without merit.”
CNN, as a result of Breitbart News’s investigation, was forced to retract the Scaramucci hit piece and apologize to Scaramucci. Three senior CNN editorial staffers, including Pulitzer Prize winning editor Eric Lichtblau, Pulitzer Prize nominated reporter Thomas Frank, and CNN investigative reporting unit chief Lex Haris were forced to resign as a result of the Breitbart News investigation as well.
CNN continues to refuse to be transparent publicly about the matter, and will not answer questions about it—and will not make Zucker, the network president, available for press interviews on the scandal casting doubt on the network’s journalistic integrity or lack thereof.
Since then, several videos of CNN producers and personalities making a variety of off-color comments surfaced via James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas. The network has not held anyone accountable for those either. What’s more, the network continues to make mistakes and print fake news like this latest fake news from Cillizza. And nobody seems to be held accountable for printing inaccurate information.