CNN’s ‘Massive’ Error on Russia? No Time For It on ‘Reliable Sources’

CNN’s media unit has an enormous black hole in its review of the media world: CNN. On Friday, CNN retracted an online story making unsubstantiated claims about the Russian ties of Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci. Jon Passantino at Buzzfeed reported on Sunday a crackdown on CNN reporting on Russia to prevent future mistakes. 

So how much time did Stelter have for this story on his show Reliable Sources on Sunday? Nothing. Instead, Stelter spent more than five minutes hate-analyzing Fox & Friends as a Trump infomercial. He spent about ten and a half minutes indulging "TV legend" Phil Donahue. He even closed the show with four minutes allegedly about Russia — but his guest Masha Gessen basically fed back Stelter his favorite talking point that Trump is an "aspiring autocrat" who’s shutting down access to the press: "We’re definitely hurtling towards a closed system of government…"

Here’s what Buzzfeed reported: 

CNN is imposing strict new publishing restrictions for online articles involving Russia after the network deleted a story and then issued a retraction late Friday, according to an internal email obtained by BuzzFeed News.

The email went out at 11:21 a.m. on Saturday from Rich Barbieri, the CNNMoney executive editor, saying "No one should publish any content involving Russia without coming to me and Jason [Farkas]," a CNN vice president.

"This applied to social, video, editorial, and MoneyStream. No exceptions," the email added. "I will lay out a workflow Monday."

The new restrictions also apply to other areas of the network — not just CNNMoney, which wasn’t involved with the article that was deleted and retracted.

A source close to the network, who requested anonymity to discuss the matter, told BuzzFeed News earlier that the story was a "massive, massive f—up and people will be disciplined." [Emphasis mine.] The person said CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker and the head of the company’s human resources department are "directly involved" in an internal investigation examining how the story was handled.

It’s not like Stelter was unaware of the CNN retraction. He tweeted that on Saturday morning:

 

On Sunday night in his e-mail newsletter, Stelter spent about 230 words on the "massive" mess-up: 

On Friday evening CNN.com fully retracted a story after questions were raised about the accuracy of the reporting and sourcing. The story, by Thomas Frank of the investigative unit, said Congress was investigating a "Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials." It didn’t get TV airtime, but it was shared on the web, where it was spotted and scrutinized by Breitbart.
 
On Friday night the story was replaced by an editor’s note: "That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled." The editor’s note included an apology to Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci, who was named in the story. The next morning Scaramucci responded via Twitter: "CNN did the right thing. Classy move. Apology accepted. Everyone makes mistakes. Moving on." Some prominent conservative figures, like Donald Trump Jr. and Sean Hannity, seized on the story as an example of anti-Trump bias and anonymous source malfeasance…
 
An embarrassing moment for CNN
 
The truth is, there’s still a lot we don’t know. On Saturday and Sunday I asked CNN PR for details and comment. A network spokeswoman declined to comment as of Sunday evening.
 
My take: I sometimes complain to my editors about the layers of editing and oversight that exist at CNN. But these processes exist for good reasons. Determining what went wrong this time will help prevent future damage to the news organization… [Emphasis in the original.]
Perhaps Stelter should try to be as upset at his poor access to his own network’s executives as he is to the media’s poor access to Trump. 

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Read my lips: No!’ – Putin categorically denies Russia influencing US election

Vladimir Putin has directly answered the big question. Appearing at a panel hosted by CNBC, Putin referenced the infamous George H.W. Bush line when he asked his audience to read his lips when promising no new taxes.

Putin’s assurance that Russia did not meddle in the US election will almost certainly not change the tune of those who think otherwise.

The entire Russiagate fiasco in the United States is less about objective analysis on US-Russian relations, than it is an internal Washington power-play using a tired old accusation from the 1950s. It’s got all the incredulity of a McCarthyite witch hunt combined with not so subtle racism about the nature of Russian people, rather than the old ideological ‘battles’ of the Cold War.

Putin summed up the American power-play in the following way:

“We said on numerous occasions and I reiterate that we are confident … And know for sure that opinion polls in the Unites States show that very many people are … friendly towards the Russian Federation and I’d like to tell these people that we perceive and regard the United States as a great power with which we want to establish good partnership relations.

All those things are fictional, illusory and provocations, lies. All these are used for domestic American political agendas. The anti-Russian card is played by different political forces inside the United States to trade on that and consolidate their positions inside”.

The mainstream media are indeed operating under the guise of illusions rather than reality. One needn’t have a positive or even a neutral opinion of Russia to realise this.

It is a political false flag designed to obfuscate responsibility from the real issues, namely that Donald Trump’s opponents dislike the US President’s style but they cannot offer any substantive programme to offer as a viable alternative for increasingly alienated voters.

Since the end of the Cold War, many American voters have been increasingly alienated from the powers that be. But whereas in previous elections, this expressed itself in the form of voter apathy, Donald Trump’s political movement has galvanised these voters to express their alienation in the form of activism, speaking out on social media and ultimately voting for the self-styled anti-establishment candidate, Donald Trump.

It’s rather sad that when the electorate stayed at home, few politicians cared about their disillusionment. Now that they have voted, Washington seems to be in the grips of a mad scramble to assign blame for a failure of a political system that long predated the arrival of Donald Trump the politician.

Far from not being able to read Vladimir Putin’s lips, they cannot even hear the voices of their own citizens. Their citizens are angry with their own leaders. Their views on Russia range from indifference to informed respect.

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CNN’s ‘Massive’ Error on Russia? No Time For It on ‘Reliable Sources’

CNN’s media unit has an enormous black hole in its review of the media world: CNN. On Friday, CNN retracted an online story making unsubstantiated claims about the Russian ties of Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci. Jon Passantino at Buzzfeed reported on Sunday a crackdown on CNN reporting on Russia to prevent future mistakes. 
So how much time did Stelter have for this story on his show Reliable Sources on Sunday? Nothing. Instead, Stelter spent more than five minutes hate-analyzing Fox & Friends as a Trump infomercial. He spent about ten and a half minutes indulging "TV legend" Phil Donahue. He even closed the show with four minutes allegedly about Russia — but his guest Masha Gessen basically fed back Stelter his favorite talking point that Trump is an "aspiring autocrat" who’s shutting down access to the press: "We’re definitely hurtling towards a closed system of government…"
Here’s what Buzzfeed reported: 

CNN is imposing strict new publishing restrictions for online articles involving Russia after the network deleted a story and then issued a retraction late Friday, according to an internal email obtained by BuzzFeed News.
The email went out at 11:21 a.m. on Saturday from Rich Barbieri, the CNNMoney executive editor, saying "No one should publish any content involving Russia without coming to me and Jason [Farkas]," a CNN vice president.
"This applied to social, video, editorial, and MoneyStream. No exceptions," the email added. "I will lay out a workflow Monday."
The new restrictions also apply to other areas of the network — not just CNNMoney, which wasn’t involved with the article that was deleted and retracted.
A source close to the network, who requested anonymity to discuss the matter, told BuzzFeed News earlier that the story was a "massive, massive f—up and people will be disciplined." [Emphasis mine.] The person said CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker and the head of the company’s human resources department are "directly involved" in an internal investigation examining how the story was handled.

It’s not like Stelter was unaware of the CNN retraction. He tweeted that on Saturday morning:

 
On Sunday night in his e-mail newsletter, Stelter spent about 230 words on the "massive" mess-up: 

On Friday evening CNN.com fully retracted a story after questions were raised about the accuracy of the reporting and sourcing. The story, by Thomas Frank of the investigative unit, said Congress was investigating a "Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials." It didn’t get TV airtime, but it was shared on the web, where it was spotted and scrutinized by Breitbart.
 
On Friday night the story was replaced by an editor’s note: "That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled." The editor’s note included an apology to Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci, who was named in the story. The next morning Scaramucci responded via Twitter: "CNN did the right thing. Classy move. Apology accepted. Everyone makes mistakes. Moving on." Some prominent conservative figures, like Donald Trump Jr. and Sean Hannity, seized on the story as an example of anti-Trump bias and anonymous source malfeasance…
 
An embarrassing moment for CNN
 
The truth is, there’s still a lot we don’t know. On Saturday and Sunday I asked CNN PR for details and comment. A network spokeswoman declined to comment as of Sunday evening.
 
— My take: I sometimes complain to my editors about the layers of editing and oversight that exist at CNN. But these processes exist for good reasons. Determining what went wrong this time will help prevent future damage to the news organization… [Emphasis in the original.]

Perhaps Stelter should try to be as upset at his poor access to his own network’s executives as he is to the media’s poor access to Trump. 

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$350,000 FOIA Loss to National Security Archive Spurred CIA IG Investigation

Should have just released the documents…
A blistering 2008 Central Intelligence Agency legal settlement of $350,000 to the National Security Archive’s pro bono lawyers, paid after losing a Freedom of Information Act case, led to the opening of an Inspector General investigation to review whether the CIA violated “policy and federal law” with respect to the FOIA.
The IG report, released in response to a FOIA request filed by Jason Leopold, reviews an anonymous allegation by a CIA employee of FOIA “missteps” at the Agency.  The IG report investigated how the Agency treated National Security Archive FOIA requests, including multiple reversals –some “on its own initiative” and some “reversed by the court several times” on whether the Archive should be treated as a news media organization, and pay fewer FOIA fees.  This CIA FOIA mismanagement caused the CIA “great confusion,” a large settlement bill, and a tongue lashing by DC District Judge Gladys Kessler.
The Deep (ly confused) State.
Kessler found that the CIA “has twice made highly misleading representations to the Archive, as well as to [the] Court,” explained that the CIA’s position was “truly hard to take seriously,” characterized the CIA’s conduct as “extraordinary misbehavior,” concluded that the CIA’s “past actions strongly suggest that their alleged misconduct will recur,” and enjoined the CIA from illegally denying the Archive’s news media fee status.
According to the newly released IG report, in addition to losing the court case to the Archive and paying a $350,000 settlement, the CIA also began an “added layer of review” for Archive FOIA requests which resulted in “no requests from the [National Security Archive being] approved for release between December 2008 and March 2009.”
Despite the fact that “[f]our of seven staff officers interviewed were aware that requests from the NSA were treated differently than other requests,” the IG report found “no information to support the allegation of deliberate malfeasance or dereliction of duty” in the CIA’s processing of FOIA requests.  The CIA also stopped conducting its additional, delaying FOIA review, before the IG report was written.  Nonetheless, the report concluded by noting the CIA’s “regulatory and statutory violation” of failing to process FOIA requests by the statutory 20 day deadline.
Attorneys Gregory G. Katsas, Jeffrey A. Taylor, John R. Tyler, and
The CIA’s “extraordinary misbehavior.” came with a price tag.
Heather R. Phillips argued this case for the United States Government.  CIA public FOIA liaison, Scott A. Koch, even sent the Archive a letter to “sincerely apologize” for its “administrative mistake[]” of denying news media status even after it assured the court it would follow the law.  But, then, on the next business day, the CIA again failed to grant the Archive news media status, in direct contravention of the “sincere apology” letter they filed with the court.  Pat Carome of WilmerHale LLP served as counsel to the Archive which recieved $20,000 of the settlement.
And in a final coda of the CIA’s lack of attention to detail to FOIA matters, the IG report misidentified the National Security Archive as the National Security Archives.

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