On Friday, CNN incorrectly reported that President Trump and his son were offered access to hacked WikiLeaks documents before they were released to the public. According to a network spokesperson, the two well-regarded reporters who made the mistake were fed false information by a source, and the error was corrected.
But it set off a firestorm from conservative media who regard the network, and its mainstream-media brethren, as driven by an anti-Trump agenda. And the timing was particularly unfortunate, coming on the heels of two other high-profile, Trump-related mistakes by mainstream-media sources in the last week.
At a rally in Florida Friday night, President Trump took the moral high road, allowing that everyone makes mistakes and affirming the importance of an oppositional news media in a healthy democracy. Nah, just kidding. Some of what he actually said:
“We’re going to cut right through the fake-news media. We’re going to speak the truth. Did you see all the corrections the media’s been making? […] They’ve been apologizing left and right.”
And: “They’re saying sorry — they’ve been doing that all year. They never apologize. […] They’ve been apologizing left and right. They took this fraudster from ABC — they suspended him for a month. They should have fired him for what he wrote. He drove the stock market down 350 points in minutes, which, by the way, tells me they really like me, right? When you think of it. You know what he cost people? And I said to everybody, get yourself a lawyer and sue ABC News.”
Trump was referring to ABC’s Brian Ross, who was suspended for four weeks after mistakenly reporting last week that President Trump had ordered Michael Flynn to make contact with the Russian government while he was a candidate.
The president stepped up his anti-media fusillade with a pair of tweets on Saturday morning:
CNN may have slightly damaged its credibility this week, but it can take comfort in the fact that Trump’s new nickname for it may be his laziest ever.