CNN has hired a number of reporters to cover the media. From Brian Stelter leading Reliable Sources to Oliver Darcy, CNN has devoted more and more coverage to the media and, in particular, Fox. It has become the thing for CNN to report on what Fox is or is not covering that everyone else is covering. They often have very valid points like Fox's obsession with attacking a Clinton scandal every time the President has a bad news day.
But I can't help but think CNN is handling a problematic story of its own making badly and how its star reporters who cover the press and helm a show called Reliable Sources are not prominently covering a rather unreliable source of CNN's. I'm talking, of course, about the CNN sensational story that Michael Cohen intended to tell the Mueller investigators that President Trump had advanced knowledge of the Russia meeting at Trump Tower.
It turns out CNN's source was Lanny Davis, who on CNN would not admit to being the source, and who now says he was wrong.
Last week, Davis told Anderson Cooper, “I think the reporting of the story got mixed up in the course of a criminal investigation. We were not the source of the story.” On Monday evening, Davis told BuzzFeed News that he regrets both his role as an anonymous source and his subsequent denial of his own involvement. Davis told BuzzFeed News that he did, in fact, speak anonymously to CNN for its story, which cited “sources with knowledge” — meaning more than one person.
CNN is standing by its story and I would note as BuzzFeed does, that CNN used the plural "sources," but I have to wonder internally if a review should be done to verify that. And if so, I have to think CNN would want the world to know it is both doing a review and that it did have multiple sources. Of course, who are those sources? Were they people Davis directed them to or independently acquired sources?
If the initial report was wrong, this would not be the first time CNN has gotten a prominent story like this wrong in an embarrassing way. Alternatively, it could be that CNN really does believe the original story and thinks Davis and Cohen have now flipped for reasons that call into question their current flip, not the original story. That too, however, seems it would warrant a big new story including perhaps that Cohen is walking it back in hopes of a pardon.
In any event, we all know CNN would have wall to wall coverage of this if it had happened to Fox. So CNN should expect every other outlet to treat it the same way. But also, I think Brian Stelter, Oliver Darcy, and the reporters who report on the press at CNN should take the lead here in revealing the truth even against their own network for the sake of journalistic integrity.
Hiring a bunch of reporters to report on reporters for competitors and not on their own network makes it seem less like an enterprise dedicated to truth and much more like an enterprise dedicated to attacking competitors. And I believe CNN is more dedicated to the truth than attack, which is why I think it must be said their handling of this so far has been disappointing and they owe their views, of which I am one, more expansive coverage on this issue.