Russia collusion fake news Hall of Shame

Amber Athey of the Daily Caller has compiled a list of the worst offenders among news anchors and reporters who, as she puts it, “gave breathless coverage to the alleged [Russia collusion] scandal and ultimately misled the public.” She names 15 offenders.

Naturally, Rachel Maddow heads the list. She built her program around the phony collusion story. Below is a sampling of others singled out by Athey, but do read her entire piece.

Manu Raju/Jeremy Herb (CNN)

Raju and Herb were responsible for a fake news story at CNN claiming that Donald Trump Jr. had advance access to stolen Democratic documents and emails from WikiLeaks. According to the duo’s reporting, Trump Jr. received an email with an encryption key for the documents on Sep. 4, 2016.

As other outlets later clarified, Trump Jr. received the email on Sep. 14, one day after WikiLeaks had already released the documents publicly.

These two reporters were also behind another CNN story that required a major update, regarding former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s 2017 testimony to Congress and alleged edits made by Trump’s legal team.

Carl Bernstein/Jim Sciutto (CNN)

Bernstein and Sciutto reported in August 2018 that Michael Cohen was prepared to tell Congress that Trump knew about his son meeting with Russians in Trump Tower before the meeting occurred.

The story flew in the face of Cohen’s prior testimony that he did not know about the meeting in advance. Cohen’s attorney at the time, Lanny Davis, later said that he was a source for CNN’s story and made a mistake by claiming Cohen had any information regarding the Trump Tower meeting.

CNN has refused to retract the story.

Ken Dilanian (NBC News)

Dilanian claimed in an August 2017 report that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s notes during the infamous Trump Tower meeting referenced political “donations” to the Republican National Committee (RNC).

A spokesperson for former Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley disputed the report, and Dilanian’s sourcing quickly fell apart. . . .

“It is 100 percent false … Mr. Manafort provided the Senate Intelligence Committee with the facts and his notes so this speculation and conjecture is pointless and wrong,” a spokesperson for Manafort told NBC News.

Dilanian also “independently confirmed” CNN’s bunk story claiming Trump Jr. had advance access to WikiLeaks documents.

Jason Leopold/Anthony Cormier (BuzzFeed News)

Leopold and Cormier published a story in BuzzFeed claiming that President Donald Trump instructed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress in 2017 about efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In an unprecedented move, special counsel Mueller’s office disputed the report, stating, “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate.”

Cohen later testified to Congress in March 2019 and further undermined BuzzFeed’s report when he said Trump never “directly” told him “to lie to Congress.”

Greg Miller (The Washington Post)

Miller withheld evidence he obtained through his own reporting that could have debunked one of the key claims in the Steele dossier.

The dossier alleges that Michael Cohen visited Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin officials, which Cohen has repeatedly denied in testimonies to Congress and elsewhere.

Miller quietly revealed that CIA and FBI sources told him that they don’t believe the trip ever happened during an event in October 2018. The event did not air on television until December on C-SPAN.

“We’ve talked to sources at the FBI and the CIA and elsewhere — they don’t believe that ever happened,” Miller, a Pulitzer-prize winner, said.

The information was never reported in The Washington Post and was not detailed in Miller’s book, “The Apprentice: Trump, Russia, and the Subversion of American Democracy.”

Brian Ross (ABC News)

Ross temporarily tanked the stock market in December 2017 when he erroneously reported that candidate Trump ordered then-national security adviser Michael Flynn to make contact with the Russians prior to his election. Ross cited a single anonymous source who claimed Flynn was prepared to testify about Trump’s order.

Subsequent, accurate reporting revealed that it was actually President-elect Trump who asked Flynn to contact Russians about issues they could work on together when Trump took office, including targeting ISIS.

ABC News suspended Ross for his massive error.

I suspect that only space limitations spared other anchors and journalists from inclusion in Athey’s Hall of Shame.

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