CNN Explains What Happened With Retracted Russia Story

Jun 27, 2017  •  Post A Comment

CNN is talking about what went wrong with a story that ended up costing three journalists their jobs with the news network. In the wake of the retracted story about an alleged connection between a Trump associate and the head of a Russian investment fund, Thomas Frank, who wrote the story; Eric Lichtblau, an editor in the investigative unit responsible for the story; and Lex Haris, who led the unit, all quit their CNN jobs.

In a piece published Monday night, CNN’s Brian Stelter reports: “An internal investigation by CNN management found that some standard editorial processes were not followed when the article was published, people briefed on the results of the investigation said.”

The retracted story cited a single anonymous source, reporting that Congress was investigating a “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials.”

“These types of stories are typically reviewed by several departments within CNN — including fact-checkers, journalism standards experts and lawyers — before publication,” Stelter writes. “This breakdown in editorial workflow disturbed the CNN executives who learned about it.”

Stelter’s report adds: “In a staff meeting Monday afternoon, investigative unit members were told that the retraction did not mean the facts of the story were necessarily wrong. Rather, it meant that ‘the story wasn’t solid enough to publish as-is,’ one of the people briefed on the investigation said.”

The story appeared on CNN’s website, but did not run on any of the network’s TV channels. As we reported previously, it was deleted from the site Friday night and replaced with a note saying the story “did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted.”


  1. “The retraction did not mean the facts of the story were necessarily wrong” REALLY ??? So 3 people lost their jobs because…??? Did CNN (FNN-Fake News Network) fire them to try to mess up the President’s solid jobs numbers?? (3 more dudes are out of work now!). I for one would like CNN to publish for all to see, what exactly their “Editorial Standards” are, because for the life of me, I can’t find any “Editorial Standards” when I tune in for a couple minutes just to see how unhinged their network has become.

    • The fact that CNN *did* pull the story and that the three reporters no longer work there provides pretty solid proof that CNN does indeed have journalistic standards. And, frankly, you’re the one who sounds kind of unhinged.

  2. CNN pulled the story but still says the “facts” weren’t wrong? Please.

    They got caught but still stick to their BS story line.

  3. But Bill, you’re all good with alternative facts so this is a non issue… idiot.

  4. The USA has become completely unhinged!! It was never so full of anger and hate than what is now since Trussia took office. Shameful!!! It’s DT’s obsession of Fake news that has started all of this. You bash CNN and your good with Fix News??!!! Your ok with Trump showing a video bashing a CNN staffer, your ok with Trump saying because he’s rich he had the right to touch woman where he wants??!!! That’s disgusting!!! And you voted him in. He’s down to 32% for him. All you backers are following his lead with fake news, hate, and anger. You should be ashamed!! MAGA?? Never happen with Trump in as president. What a joke!!! If you actually listened you would know that everything Trump accuses others of, he alone is the guilty one of such accusations. Take off your rose coloured glasses and start seeing the truth!!!!

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