Thursday, August 30, 2018

CNN Cohen "Collusion" Hit Piece Debunked By Own Source, Fake News Agency Refuses To Retract

CNN fake news frauds busted by own source opening the door for massive libel suit, investigation into FBI/CNN collusion     


Libel is a method of defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies, or any communication embodied in physical form that is injurious to a person's reputation, exposes a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures a person in his/her business or profession.

A bombshell story that was supposed to be the end of President Donald Trump – until the celebrity source recanted. It sounds like a typical media screw-up, with one key difference: for whatever reason, CNN is standing by it.

On July 26, CNN reported that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, claimed that Trump “knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in which Russians were expected to offer his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton,” and was willing to testify to that effect to special counsel Robert Mueller, according to “sources with knowledge.” Trump denied the story the very next morning, tweeting “so the Fake News doesn’t waste my time with dumb questions,” and calling out Cohen for hiring Lanny Davis, “Bill and Crooked Hillary’s lawyer.”

Fast-forward a month, after Cohen pleaded guilty to a litany of felonies, and Davis has admitted that Cohen said no such thing, “does not” know about the Trump Tower meeting, and obviously won’t testify to Mueller about it. CNN’s reporting got it “mixed up,” he said. As a result, other outlets that relied on Davis as a source have retracted their Trump Tower stories. CNN, though, is standing by theirs.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald speculates it’s because the original story explicitly stated that CNN had contacted Davis but he “declined to comment.” Trouble is, Davis told BuzzFeed that he was CNN’s source for the story. So either CNN is lying to its audience about Davis, or Davis is lying about being a source for CNN, Greenwald pointed out.

“If CNN lied about Davis having refused comment (when, in fact, he was one of their anonymous sources), then this is obviously a major journalism scandal,” Greenwald wrote in The Intercept on Tuesday. If Davis is lying, “that is also a major story,” given that US media have treated him as a reliable source for decades, and that Davis has used his media platform to promote a Michael Cohen “truth fund,” a crowdfunding campaign for money that will actually go to pay Davis through legal fees.

Caught in such contradictions, media outlets typically claim their errors are “just good faith and rare mistakes,” being exaggerated by their critics, writes Greenwald. However, he says, major US media have “repeatedly and frequently – not rarely and periodically – gotten major stories completely wrong, always in the same direction” when it comes to Trump and Russia.

Their errors have been “chronic,” “systematic” and “reckless,” including stories from Russian hacking of the Vermont power grid that never happened to a supposed links between Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci and a Russian bank. It is worth noting that CNN actually retractedthat story and fired the people involved – a rare case of someone being held accountable for this kind of Trump/Russia fake news.

Greenwald joined FNC's Tucker Carlson Tuesday night to discuss the anonymously sourced CNN report several weeks ago that claimed Trump knew about the "Trump Tower meeting" ahead of time. Michael Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis has since admitted that he was the source and he was wrong to imply he could prove such a thing. CNN is standing by its reporting, however.

Greenwald said he found the whole incident "to be… one of the most humiliating moments and scandalous moments in the entire media behavior of the Trump-Russia saga."

He explained how other news outlets "outed their own source" after Davis retracted his comments, but "CNN couldn’t do that because they lied to the entire world."

"They can’t retract the story and they can’t admit they lied," he said. "So they are continuing to stick to what everybody knows is a lie, but not many people care because people think -a lot of people, anyway- that it was done for the right political agenda."

"Doesn’t CNN have some sort of obligation to viewers to explain what this is all about?" the FOX News host asked.

"Journalists rightly demand transparency from powerful institutions, that’s our job," Greenwald replied. 

"But how can CNN have any credibility to do that when you call them and ask them what happened here, as I did, and everyone else did, and they say, ‘Talk to our PR spokesperson,’ who then refuses to answer any questions. They have zero credibility if they don’t provide transparency themselves." 

After initially saying nothing, here is the sum total of CNN's comment: "We stand by our story, and are confident in our reporting of it." A CNN report yesterday said that Davis kept changing his story in his dealings with the network.

Here's the backstory: CNN dropped a bombshell last month by reporting that Davis' client, Michael Cohen, had information that Donald Trump knew in advance of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son, his son-in-law, campaign chairman and a Russian lawyer. "Cohen is willing to make that assertion to special counsel Robert Mueller," according to "the sources," CNN said.

The president has repeatedly denied any advance knowledge of the meeting.

The story, whose bylines included Carl Bernstein and Jim Sciutto, was picked up by the broadcast networks and many other major media organizations.

But now Davis has outed himself as an anonymous source for CNN, and says Cohen has no such information about advance knowledge by the president.

In my interview, Davis said he told CNN reporters that he couldn't confirm the Trump Tower allegation but encouraged them to check it out. He now believes they may have interpreted this as giving them a green light.

"When I work for a client, whether it's the White House or anybody else, and there's something that might be true but I'm not sure, I have to not expect reporters to get it right," Davis told me. He said he should have been more explicit in telling the CNN journalists not to pursue an unsubstantiated story.

Davis added that he did not intentionally mislead CNN's Anderson Cooper in saying he wasn't a source for the network. He meant that he wasn't a confirming source on the Trump Tower allegation and says he should have been more clear.

CNN and their fake news fraud Cooper need to be investigated for FBI collusion
Implicit in CNN standing by the story is that the network has other sources for the Trump Tower allegation. But how could others have information about what Cohen believes when the president's former lawyer is essentially saying, through Davis, that he has no such information?

Cohen, of course, pleaded guilty last week to bank fraud, tax evasion and campaign finance violations related to hush money payments to two women making accusations against Trump.

The president, of course, has boasted about Davis' admission on Twitter.

The Washington Post handled its dealings with Davis very differently. The Post had also dealt with him as an unnamed source.

As the paper recounts, the day after the CNN story, "The Post reported that Cohen had told associates that he witnessed an exchange in which Trump Jr. told his father about an upcoming gathering in which he expected to get information about Clinton. The Post did not report that Trump Jr. told his father that the information was coming from Russians.

"The information in the Post story, which was attributed to one person familiar with discussions among Cohen's friends, came from Davis, who is now acknowledging his role on the record."

And that’s the thing. CNN doesn’t have to protect Davis, who has come clean about his role in the matter.

When the White House makes a mistake or clings to an unsubstantiated charge, news organizations hammer top officials about it. Shouldn't a network have the same obligation to explain itself when an explosive story is denied by one of its own sources?

Already on the rating ropes, CNN fake news now needs to be sued for libel by the President, putting an end to their seditionist, fantasy attacks on a sitting administration

Davis says he has learned a valuable lesson, and is "pulling back" on other claims he has made. The Washington lawyer told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow there were indications that Trump knew in advance of the hacking of Democratic emails.

He said that was his belief but that he had no hard evidence to back it up.

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