Three CNN journalists who worked on a now-retracted narrative about Russia and a top Trump adviser are leaving the network.
CNN is casting their deviation as abdications in the wake of the fiasco, but the network has come under substantial criticism since apologizing for the story. The move would also assistance CNNs legal posture in case of a lawsuit.
Anthony Scaramucci, the Trump adviser who is the target of the tale, told me that he has no plans to sue. He said he has accepted CNNs apology and wants to move on.
But Scaramucci also told me in an earlier interview, I was frustrated the narrative was published. It was a lie.
Lex Harris, executive editor of CNNs investigative unit, was the highest-ranking official to resign. Thomas Frank, who wrote the narrative, and Eric Lichtblau, who edited it, also turned in their resignations. Lichtblau is a highly regarded reporter who expended almost a decade and a half at the New York Times.
The story tried to draw a link between Scaramucci and the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Scaramucci was a Trump transition team member who has been nominated to an ambassadorial-level post based in Paris.
The CNN.com article said that Scaramucci, back in January, held a secret meeting with an official from the Russian money. According to an unnamed source, Scaramucci discussed the possibility of lifting U.S. sanctions at the meeting.
But Scaramucci told me there was no secret meeting. He said he had given a speech on Trumps behalf at Davos, and fund official Kirill Dmitriev approached him in a restaurant to say hello and they had a brief dialogue, with no discussion of sanctions.
In the retraction, the network said the narrative did not satisfy CNNs editorial criteria. The network is now involving approval from two top editors before any Russia-related story can be published.
Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and the host of “MediaBuzz”( Sundays 11 a.m .). He is the author of five books and is based in Washington. Follow him at @HowardKurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz.
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