Three CNN Staffers Resign Over Retracted Russia Report

Internal probe found company standards were not met in anonymous sourced report.

June 27, 2017 8:49 am
Newsroom at CNN World Headquarters. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Three CNN staffers resigned Monday, days after the deletion and retraction of an article that had reported Congress was investigating a “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials.”

Reporter Thomas Frank, the writer of the piece, editor Eric Lichtblau, a Pulitzer-Prize winner who defected from The New York Times just months earlier, and investigative unit head Lex Haris resigned after an internal investigation found approved workflow was not followed on the article.

Insiders said that the substance of the article may have been correct, but the team had not properly consulted fact checkers, lawyers and other editors before publication, according to CNN Money.

While the article did not air on the news network, it was published on the CNN web site and shared via social media.

Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci—who denied any wrongdoing after being named in the report—tweeted Saturday that he accepted CNN’s “classy” apology. “Everyone makes mistakes. Moving on,” he added.

“On Friday, CNN retracted a story published by my team. As Executive Editor of that team, I have resigned,” Haris said in a statement. “I’ve been with CNN since 2001, and am sure about one thing: This is a news organization that prizes accuracy and fairness above all else. I am leaving, but will carry those principles wherever I go.”

This comes weeks after CNN was forced to correct a high-profile report ahead of former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. An anonymous source was quoted as saying that Comey would dispute President Trump’s assertion that he was told he was not personally under investigation in connection with Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Instead, Comey publicly contradicted the report during is televised testimony—a huge embarrassment for the network.

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David A. Vise wrote a column for RealClearLife admonishing the media’s over-reliance on anonymous sourcing.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.