WHCA Rewards CNN For Being The Go-To Outlet Of Leakers

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Joe Simonson Media Reporter
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The White House Correspondents’ Association will be awarding a number of CNN reporters for their story the intelligence community briefed President Barack Obama and then-President elect Donald Trump on the so-called “dossier,” despite the fact the story took little investigative work.

NOW WATCH a deranged Acosta:

Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto, Jake Tapper and Carl Bernstein will accept the Merriman Smith Award for their coverage of the dossier story. A press release from the WHCA goes as far as dubiously crediting CNN for making “the dossier…part of the lexicon.”

“These four journalists and a number of other CNN reporters broke the story that the intelligence community had briefed President Barack Obama and then-President elect Donald Trump that Russia had compromising information about Trump. The CNN team later reported that then-FBI Director James Comey personally briefed Trump about the dossier. Thanks to this CNN investigation, ‘the dossier’ is now part of the lexicon. The depth of reporting demonstrated in these remarkable and important pieces, and the constant updates as new information continued to be uncovered showed breaking news reporting at its best,” reads a judges’ statement.

The announcement struck other WHCA members as bizarre, considering the entire story took little actual reporting and instead likely relied on a leak from a single senior White House or intel community official.

One member of the of the association of reporters voiced his displeasure to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“The White House Correspondents Association is giving an award for reporting to people who are hand fed opposition research document and then called up my politically-motivated sources,” the respected journalist said.

Strikingly, the outlet actually responsible for publishing the unverified dossier, Buzzfeed, did not receive the award. Not only did Buzzfeed take the brunt of the risk in showing the public the salacious allegations against Trump, but there’s no evidence they have been entirely verified.

CNN’s January story only reported classified documents were shown to both Obama and Trump detailing allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information on the president. Nothing in the network’s story confirm or deny any of the dossier contents.

The awards ceremony will be at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., on April 28.

One of the recipients, Sciutto, seems to not completely understand his own reporting. The dossier was “initially for by Republicans and then by the Democratic National Committee,” he claimed during a February CNN broadcast.

Wealthy GOP donor and founder of the Washington Free Beacon initially funded Fusion GPS — the firm that employed Christopher Steele, the individual who assembled the dossier — for opposition research against Trump and other GOP candidates, The Daily Caller’s Amber Athey noted. By 2016, long before Steele was hired, Singer stopped using Fusion GPS’ services.

Singer’s donations made none of the dossier’s research possible.

The Merriman Smith Award “was conceived to perpetuate Mr. Smith’s memory and to promote the excellence he brought to his profession,” according to the WHCA website.

“The 2018 awards will be based on the following criteria: A single story written, dictated or broadcast under deadline pressure. The story must have emanated from coverage of the presidency, either in the United States or abroad. Any subject of news interest (political, diplomatic, scientific, economic, social, security, appointments, any foreign or domestic matter ), which developed in the course of presidential news coverage, will be considered. A nominee must have been based in the Washington area and must have been on permanent or temporary assignment covering the presidency. Four factors will be assessed in the judging of a story: accuracy, speed, objectivity, and initiative. Correspondents employed by any recognized news organization are eligible to enter,” the website advertises.

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