Despite CNN’s assertion this week that it “does not lie,” the network has an extensive history of bungled reporting — some of which has gone uncorrected.
President Donald Trump called out CNN for its questionable report on his son’s 2016 Trump Tower meeting with the Russians, insisting that “CNN is being torn apart from within based on their being caught in a major lie and refusing to admit the mistake.”
“Make no mistake, Mr. President, CNN does not lie,” the network responded. “We report the news. And we report when people in power tell lies. CNN stands by our reporting and our reporters.”
Make no mistake, Mr. President, CNN does not lie. We report the news. And we report when people in power tell lies. CNN stands by our reporting and our reporters. There may be many fools in this story but @carlbernstein is not one of them.
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) August 29, 2018
While CNN is standing by its July 27 report claiming Michael Cohen was prepared to tell special counsel Robert Mueller that Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting in advance, a number of factors have called their reporting into question. (RELATED: CNN’s Quadruple Down On Dubious Trump Tower Story Leaves Out Key Details)
Unfortunately for CNN, the Trump Tower story isn’t their first fling with dubious or just flat-out wrong reporting.
The following list details 20 additional stories that CNN has bungled following the rise of Trump.
1. Scaramucci Slip
CNN retracted a story in June of 2017 claiming that former Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci was under investigation by Congress for his alleged ties to Russia. (RELATED: CNN Retracts Story About Trump Adviser Being Under Investigation)
The story relied on one anonymous congressional source and CNN apologized to Scaramucci for the error. Three CNN reporters ended up resigning from the company over the botched report.
2. Trump Jr. Collusion
CNN reported in December of 2017 that Donald Trump Jr. received special access to documents stolen by WikiLeaks on Sept. 4, 2016. However, Donald Trump Jr. actually was emailed about the documents on Sept. 14, 2016 — a day after they were already available to the general public. (RELATED: CNN Botches Major ‘Bombshell’ Alleging Contacts Between Don Jr. And WikiLeaks)
CNN updated the report but still has not explained how two sources managed to give them the wrong date on the email.
3. 17 Intel Agencies Lie
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said during a congressional hearing in May that three intelligence agencies — the CIA, NSA and the FBI — concluded that Russia interfered with the 2016 election.
Nonetheless, CNN has repeatedly claimed that all 17 intelligence agencies came to the same conclusion about Russian meddling. CNN’s claim is pure nonsense, as the Department of Energy, Department of the Treasury, and Drug Enforcement Agency, among others, would have no authority to make any assertions about Russian meddling in elections.
4. Comey Testimony Crumbles
On June 6, 2017, CNN reported that former FBI director James Comey would contradict President Donald Trump’s claim that he was not under investigation.
When the time came for Comey to release his opening statement for his congressional testimony, he actually ended up confirming Trump’s account. (RELATED: Comey Confirms: Trump Wasn’t Under FBI Investigation)
“This article was published before Comey released his prepared opening statement. The article and headline have been corrected to reflect that Comey does not directly dispute that Trump was told multiple times he was not under investigation in his prepared testimony released after this story was published,” CNN corrected.
5. Trump’s Fish Food
When President Trump met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last November, the pair took part in a koi fish feeding ceremony. A video posted by CNN appeared to show Trump dumping his entire box of food into the koi pond unprompted. (RELATED: Journalists Slam Trump For Copying Fish Food Dump)
An unedited video revealed that Trump was simply following the lead of Abe, who emptied his box of food first.
6. A Clean Bill Of Health
In May of 2017 when Republicans were authoring a new health care bill, CNN claimed that GOP changes to Obamacare could make rape and sexual assault pre-existing conditions.
PolitiFact rated that claim “mostly false,” explaining that “the bill does not change what is or is not a pre-existing condition; the health insurance companies write those definitions for themselves.”
7. Officer Cuomo
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo inexplicably said in October of 2016 that possessing WikiLeaks stolen documents is “illegal,” but insisted it’s “different for the media.”
“Also interesting is, remember, it’s illegal to possess these stolen documents. It’s different for the media. So everything you learn about this, you’re learning from us,” Cuomo said.
According to The Washington Post, it is not illegal to possess or distribute illegally obtained material so long as you were not involved in the original hack.
8. Just Tap It In
CNN originally denounced Trump’s claim in March of 2017 that former President Barack Obama was wiretapping phones in Trump Tower as a “flat-out lie.”
Then, in September of 2017, CNN reported that the FBI had a wiretap on former campaign chairman Paul Manafort — who has a residence in Trump Tower.
While it is unclear if the FBI tapped Manafort’s phones in Trump Tower or picked up his conversations with the president, it’s plausible enough that CNN should not be dismissing Trump’s claims out of hand. (RELATED: CNN Reporter: Trump’s Wiretap Tweets Still Not Plausible)
9. Zeleny’s Folly
CNN reporter Jeff Zeleny tweeted on July 31, 2018, that President Trump had not taken questions from reporters in at least a week.
President Trump waves, but declines to answer questions on south lawn of White House today as he heads to Florida for a campaign rally tonight. It marks at least a week that he’s gone without answering questions about his Tweets or anything else in the news.
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) July 31, 2018
Just one day prior to Zeleny’s tweet, Trump answered questions during a joint news conference with the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
10. Republicans Did (NOT) Fund The Dossier
The salacious and unverified Steele dossier was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, but that hasn’t stopped CNN from pinning the document on the GOP. (RELATED: Media Still Pinning Dossier On Republicans)
Former Obama official and current CNN reporter Jim Sciutto was just one network talking-head who claimed the dossier was “initially paid for by Republicans.”
While Republicans bought standard opposition research from Fusion GPS, they stopped paying the firm well before it ever contracted with Christopher Steele to compile the anti-Trump dossier.
11. If You Build It, They Will Lie
CNN claimed that only Democratic members of Congress gathered to pray before the 2017 Congressional Baseball Game — the first game after House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot and nearly killed. (RELATED: CNN Incorrectly States Only Dems Prayed At Congressional Baseball Game)
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) June 16, 2017
Pictures of the prayer circle clearly show both Democrats and Republicans praying together, and CNN eventually deleted their tweet claiming otherwise.
12. CNN Gets Hit With A Cruz Missile
After the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, CNN media reporter Brian Stelter accused Republican congressmen of being “scared” to come on the network to debate gun control. Anchor Chris Cuomo specifically called out Texas Senator Ted Cruz for not rising to the challenge.
As it turns out, Sen. Cruz had done a 15 minute interview with CNN earlier that day. He blasted the network for airing “NONE” of his interview and noted that he had previously done three town hall debates on CNN with Senator Bernie Sanders. (RELATED: Ted Cruz Did A 15 Minute Interview With CNN — They Aired None Of It, Then Attacked Him For Not Coming On Air)
13. Silly Stelter!
CNN media reporter Brian Stelter accused the Republican National Committee of “misquoting” him in an ad attacking the credibility of Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury.”
“Real factual errors … makes you wonder about the overall content,” Stelter was quoted as saying.
Stelter did utter those words during a CNN International television hit and quickly deleted his accusatory tweet.
“I stand corrected: I thought this RNC ad misquoted me, but the quote came from a @CNNI TV hit,” Stelter admitted.
I stand corrected: I thought this RNC ad misquoted me, but the quote came from a @CNNI TV hit. So I’ve deleted my previous tweet about this. Big picture point: Wolff’s errors are sloppy, but many Trump experts say the book “rings true” overall. My advice: Read it — skeptically https://t.co/VWXvjWpaYV
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 6, 2018
14. These Boots Were Made For Correctin’
Nancy Sinatra made a quick joke about her late father’s song, “My Way,” being used at Trump’s Inauguration in January 2017. She tweeted in response to the news to “just remember the first line of the song” — which is, “And now, the end is near.”
CNN spun Sinatra’s tweet into an article claiming she was “not happy” about Trump using her father’s song at the Inauguration.
“That’s not true. I never said that. Why do you lie, CNN?” Sinatra asserted. “What a rotten spin to put on a harmless joke.”
15. School Shooting Slip-Up
After a May shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, CNN reporters immediately began claiming that there were 22 school shootings on the year. (RELATED: CNN Re-Ups False 22 School Shootings Stat)
However, CNN wildly exaggerates the number of school shootings by using methodology that includes accidental firearm discharges on school property, domestic disputes, and other non-active shooter events.
For example, one listed shooting at Savannah State University in Georgia involved just two people, neither of whom were students.
16. Where’s Melania?
Multiple CNN reporters speculated about the whereabouts of Melania Trump after a scheduled kidney surgery and then denied responsibility for any conspiracy theories about the first lady. (RELATED: CNN Reporters Shirk Responsibility For Melania Conspiracies)
Media reporter Brian Stelter led his “Reliable Sources” newsletter on June 3rd with the headline “Melania M.I.A,” and insisted the first lady’s whereabouts were a “mystery” because she had not been seen in public since May 10.
While Stelter blamed random internet commenters for specific conspiracy theories about plastic surgery or a move back to NYC, CNN repeated such theories in an article and even asked Melania’s spokesperson to comment on them.
17. Fake News About Fake News
CNN cited a study from the Oxford Internet Institute to claim that fake news targeted swing states during the 2016 presidential election.
However, as The Daily Caller first reported, the study says nothing of the sort. (RELATED: Mainstream Media Reporting About Twitter ‘Fake News’ Is 100% False)
The researchers in the study were talking about “junk news,” not “fake news” — and their definition of junk news includes mainstream conservative sites like The Washington Examiner and Breitbart News. A deep dive into the study thus reveals that Twitter users didn’t receive nearly as much “fake news” as CNN initially claimed to readers.
18. Trump (Not) Ignorant About Japanese Cars
CNN Money’s Daniel Shane accused President Trump of not knowing that Japan makes cars in the United States, writing, “Trump asks Japan to build cars in the U.S. It already does.”
During the president’s November visit to Japan, he told Japan Inc, “Try building your cars in the United States instead of shipping them over. Is that possible to ask?”
However, when reading his full remarks — which Shane left out — it is clear that the president was making a joke and knows that Japanese manufacturers make cars in the U.S. (RELATED: CNN Spreads Two Fake Narratives During Trump Visit To Japan)
Shane ended up issuing a correction on his article.
19. Hands Up, Fake News
A CNN panel consisting of Margaret Hoover, Sally Kohn, Sunny Hostin and Mel Robbins displayed the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture in 2014 while talking about marches against police violence.
The gesture seemed to be a reference to the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
While initial reports speculated that Brown had his hands up when he was shot by Darren Wilson, the DOJ concluded in a report in 2015 that physical and forensic evidence showed Brown’s hands could not have been above his waist.
20. Peace Be With You
CNN deceptively edited a video of Sherelle Smith and Kimberly Neal, the sisters of an unarmed black man who was shot by police. The network claimed the two sisters were “calling for peace” amidst riots in their neighborhood.
“Don’t bring that violence here,’ [Kimberly] Neal, his other sister, said while sobbing,” CNN’s report said.
However, in a longer video, Sherelle says, “Y’all burning down s—t we need in our community. Take that s—t to the suburbs. Burn that s—t down. We need our s—t. We need our weaves. I don’t wear it. But we need it.”
CNN removed the portion of their report about Sherelle and owned up to their error.
“An earlier version of this story mischaracterized what the victim’s sister was trying to convey. She was calling for peace in her community, urging the protesters to go elsewhere,” CNN told The Washington Examiner.