CNN’s Trump White House Story Boasts Factual Errors


Amber Athey Podcast Columnist
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CNN published an article about turnover in the Trump White House that included some fake news.

Editor-at-large Chris Cillizza wrote a piece on Tuesday that analyzed staff departures from the White House, but he included a number of persons who never actually worked in the White House.

Cillizza correctly identified a number of staffers who have left the White House over the past year, including former communications director Anthony Scaramucci, national security advisor Michael Flynn, press secretary Sean Spicer, and more.

However, in an apparent attempt to pad the number of departures, Cillizza also included staffers from the executive branch more broadly –and one person who never even made it into the administration.

“Look at this picture,” Cillizza wrote. “See if you can name all of the people — each one of whom has left the White House this year — in it.”

Included in the photo is former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who left the campaign in August 2016, well before Trump ever took office.

Also included are former FBI director James Comey, FBI acting director Andrew McCabe, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, associate attorney general Rachel Brand, deputy attorney general Sally Yates, and director of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub.

While these individuals were a part of the executive branch, it is incorrect to identify them as part of the White House.

Overall, Cillizza managed to add seven people to his list of White House departures that did not belong there.

UPDATE (12:35 PM):

CNN updated the article to more accurately describe the photo including Comey, McCabe, Price, and others. In the updated version, the persons pictured are described as former members of “Trump’s orbit.” 

“Look at this picture. It includes some people, like former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who were never at the White House, but who unceremoniously left Trump’s orbit,” the updated piece reads. “Others didn’t work directly at the White House, but have featured prominently in the Trump administration. And Manafort, by the way, has been charged by special counsel Robert Mueller with money laundering and filing false foreign lobbying reports. See if you can name all of the people — each one of whom has left the White House or Trump’s orbit — in it. (Confession: I couldn’t).” 

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