CNN's prism for viewing the dossier emerges from a story by CNN's Jim Sciutto and Evan Perez on Feb. 10, 2017. It was titled, "US investigators corroborate some aspects of the Russia dossier." So what "aspects" had CNN corroborated? Michael Cohen's alleged trip to Prague? Those Trumpian "moles" inside the DNC? The wide-ranging and mutually backscratching alliance between the Trump campaign and Russia?
No, the "aspects" were "conversations between foreign nationals," reported Sciutto and Perez. The story continued: "The dossier details about a dozen conversations between senior Russian officials and other Russian individuals. Sources would not confirm which specific conversations were intercepted or the content of those discussions due to the classified nature of US intelligence collection programs." Though the story was silent on which particular allegations in the dossier drew strength from these findings, CNN indicated that the intercepted communications fostered "greater confidence" in the dossier among the authorities.
At the time, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said, "We continue to be disgusted by CNN's fake news reporting."
Wemple is then forced however to admit his own mea culpa:
It is here that some hindsight-assisted dossier accountability falls on the Erik Wemple Blog. After Spicer's blast, we wrote a post criticizing the White House for its "authoritarian" response to the CNN story. Though the White House's conduct was typically bush-league and anti-democratic, the Erik Wemple Blog should have spread some of the skepticism to CNN for its vague story. We did not - a pathetic media-criticism failure.
Neither did anyone else in the mass media – except Fox News. Fake News stories continued to be published based on what has now been established to be a thoroughly discredited political hit job not worth the paper it was written on.
The suspicion the Trump campaign and Trump White House could have been spied on remains a distinct possibility.
Public confidence in the mass media to not disseminate fake news has now well and truly flown out the window. Trusted sources need to be found elsewhere.
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