No one noticed. But the US media just spent an entire day humiliating itself. [VIDEO]

CNN false story
Support us and go ad-free

A chunk of the US media spent Friday 8 December humiliating itself. Major outlets CNN, MSNBC and CBS spent much of the day eagerly pushing to millions of people what turned out to be a false story. After extensive reports, comment and analysis, the story turned out to be false because of an error in the most basic of fact checking.

A ‘bombshell’ scoop

Throughout the day, media outlets were convinced they had proof of collusion between WikiLeaks and Donald Trump. CNN kicked off the embarrassment by reporting that Trump had special access to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) email leak before it went public. The whole revelation was based on one email sent by a previously unknown Michael J. Erickson to Trump. The email contained links to the DNC server leak. For the media organisations, this was proof of collusion because the email was dated 4 September 2016 – ten days before WikiLeaks went public. MSNBC and CBS followed with their own extensive reports. And CNN was very excited when it broke the ‘bombshell’ scoop:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cz3b7Ssx-AU

Fundamentally flawed

But the story was fundamentally flawed, as The Intercept reports. After broadcasters spent hours hyping the revelation, The Washington Post reported a crucial error. The email was actually dated 14 September, not 4 September. That’s after WikiLeaks released the emails to the public. This means Michael J. Erickson was probably just a member of the public urging Trump to look at the emails, which were already available online:

“Multiple sources”

The CNN report heavily implied that journalists had seen the email. But many hours after the story was ousted as false, CNN admitted that it hadn’t actually seen it. CNN‘s PR department later released a statement claiming “multiple sources” had supplied the information. Congressional reporter Manu Raju also noted the correction on CNN, claiming “two sources” had offered him the false date.

Meanwhile, MSNBC claimed during its report that “two sources with direct knowledge” had independently confirmed the email. This all suggests that at least two sources which these news organisations supposedly trusted misled them; with an apparent desire to spread damaging false news about WikiLeaks to the public. It seems unlikely that multiple sources managed to make such an obvious mistake in good faith. Still, CNN and MSNBC appear to be protecting the sources that misled them.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

This is far from the first time the US media has reported utterly false news about alleged collusion between WikiLeaks and Trump (or Russia). Journalist Glenn Greenwald has documented many instances of media outlets publishing incorrect stories about the same questionable topic.

In short, a large section of the US media spent 8 December spreading false news to millions of people. That’s shameful.

Get Involved!

– Read and support independent news outlets that hold the powerful to account. Here are some we recommend. Please add more that you like in the comments:

The Canary, The Intercept, Media Diversified, Novara Media, Corporate Watch, Common Space, Media Lens, Bella CaledoniaVox Political, Evolve Politics, Real Media, Reel News, STRIKE! magazine, The Bristol CableThe MeteorSalford Star, The Ferret.

Featured image via YouTube screenshot

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed