The dismissal of three journalists CNN — an example of the irresponsible attitude of the media to question the “Russian threat”

Three prominent journalists of CNN, resigned on Monday night after the TV station had to apologize and delete published on its website an article about the connections of a member of the transition team of Donald trump Anthony of Scaramucci (Anthony Scaramucci) with Russian direct investment Fund (RDIF), the investigation dealt with by the Congress. This article (and many articles to the American media about Russia) was based on information from a single anonymous source, and now TV guide cannot guarantee the validity of their main statements.

The management of CNN, reporting on the resignation of three journalists, said that “in preparing the articles were not followed standard editorial procedure.” Thomas Frank (Thomas Frank), the author of the article (not to be confused with Thomas Frank, author of the book “What’s the matter with Kansas?” (What’s the Matter with Kansas?)), the journalist-Pulitzer prize winner Eric Lichtblau (Eric Lichtblau), who recently joined CNN from The New York Times, and the head of the new investigative team Lex Haris (Lex Haris) was dismissed after Friday night on the CNN website, the editors published a retraction email of apology in the address of Scaramucci:

Updated: June 23, 2017 Friday, 22:44

22 June 2017 on the website there was an article in which the name of Anthony Scaramucci associated with verification carried out in relation to the Russian direct investment Fund.

This article does not meet the editorial standards of CNN and was removed. Edition of CNN brings master of Scaramucci apologize.

An awkward situation, which turned out to CNN, is aggravated by certain circumstances. First, the information contained in the CNN article, which first denied the news Agency Sputnik, which explained that IFPI noted in the article, several “factual inaccuracies” (among them — that the Fund is not even part of Vnesheconombank, the Russian Bank, in respect of which the investigation is conducted). False information notice and the publication of Breitbart, which was named numerous other factual errors.

And all this happened after at the beginning of this month, CNN was in an awkward position and was forced to make a correction to the material. Then a few of his most famous journalists working in live, stated (based on information received from anonymous sources) that James Komi (James Comey) in his speech to Congress with testimony is going to deny trump’s words, who claimed that the FBI Director assured him that in respect of him, trump, no investigation is not conducted.

When Komi confirmed the words of trump, CNN was forced to make material changes. “According to an earlier version of this story, Comey was going to deny that, as trump interpreterpath the content of their conversations. But according to prepared notes and reviews, Komi summarizes the contents of three conversations with the President, during which he told Trump that in respect of him personally, the investigation is not conducted,” said TV guide.

But in terms of embarrassing and humiliating denials already issued materials about Russia, CNN is not alone. The largest us media again and again, publish and publish statements about the threat from Russia, which, as it turns out, completely untrue. They always exaggerate the threat and/or invent incriminating ties between Moscow and representatives of the environment trump. In almost all cases, these stories do not sound evidence of statements by anonymous sources that these media without any criticism is treated as fact. Only then it turns out that this is an absolute lie.

Some of the most shameful of these cases occurred in connection with publications in the Washington Post. December 30, the newspaper published a “blockbuster” — a terrible sensational material which immediately and predictably spread with incredible speed and caused the flow of messages. Russian hackers said to the publication, based on information from anonymous sources, hacked the computer network of one of the companies in the American state of Vermont and entered in the electrical distribution system.

Breaking: Russian hackers penetrated the U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont

— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) December 31, 2016.

Washington Post
✔ @washingtonpost
Breaking news: Russian hackers penetrated electricity distribution system of the United States, cracking computer network in Vermont.
03:58 31 Dec 2016

A group of Russian hackers broke into the computer network of one of the companies in the state of Vermont, which testifies to the threat to the security of the electrical system of the United States…
Malicious software is detected, indicating involvement in the hacking group of hackers called Steppe Grizzly (“Grizzly steppe”.


This, in turn, provoked journalists MSNBC and various officials-Democrats, who immediately sounded the alarm, saying that Putin is trying to deprive Americans of warmth in the winter:

Kyle Griffin
Governor of Vermont Peter Shumlin attack the Russians: “One of the main rogues in the world, Putin, is trying to infiltrate our electric distribution system.”
09:35 31 Dec 2016

Literally every detail of the story was false. First, the power company (with which the journalists of the Washington Post didn’t bother to reach) issued a rebuttal, noting that the malware was found on one laptop computer that is not connected to any power distribution network of Vermont or to the broader electricity system of the United States. In the end, the newspaper was forced to change the text, reinforcing the sense continues to be alarmist statements about a malicious program “testifies to the threat” the security of the electricity network USA coming from Russia. However, she changed the beginning of the article, refuting the main statement:


According to the authorities, a Russian group of hackers broke into the computer network of one of the company, indicating the threat to the security of the electricity system USA

Editor’s note: the original text of the article, it was incorrectly stated that Russian hackers have penetrated power system of the United States. According to the authorities, of facts indicating it is not yet identified. Computer company Burlington Electric, which was hacked, the system has not been.

Juliet Eilperin, Adam Entous

According to representatives of the U.S. government, the computer company Burlington Electric was discovered ON the associated with the Russian group of hackers, which the Obama administration calls the “Grizzly steppe”.

Although the Russian hackers are in subversive operations are not actively used, according to officials who agreed to discuss secret subject on the condition of anonymity, discovered evidence FOR the presence of vulnerabilities in the power system of the United States. And it makes the US government fears that are associated with the Russian government hackers are actively trying to penetrate the power supply system of the United States with the purpose of committing a possible hacker attacks.

But then it turned out that even this minor malware had nothing to do with Russian hackers irrelevant and, moreover, it may not be malicious. After we took these insights, The Washington Post had a few days to publish a new article completely refutes the original version.

According to sources familiar with the investigation associated with the Russian government hackers did not hacked the computers of the company in Vermont

Ellen Nakashima, Juliet Eilperin

According to experts and officials familiar with the circumstances of the case, the investigation of suspicious Internet activities identified in the computer of one of the companies in Vermont, the Federal authorities find evidence that this activity is not connected with the actions of the Russian government to exercise control over electricity distribution system of the United States or the ingress.

On Friday an employee of one of departments of the company Burlington Electric checked my mail on the Yahoo site and raised the alarm, noticing that his computer connects to a suspicious IP address, which, according to the authorities, connected with the Russian hacker group that infiltrated the computer system of the Democratic party. As stated by the management authorities, the traffic using that particular IP address recorded not only in the company Burlington Electric, but throughout the country. Based on this we can assume that the company is not a subject of interest for Russian hackers. Moreover, as the representatives of the authorities, the traffic is not dangerous, because the IP address is not always associated with actions performed with malicious intent.

If to speak about getting in the last year spread in the American media “fake” stories about the “Russian threat”, then such an awkward situation with a refutation arise so often that their number is literally incalculable. Less than a month before his farce with the power supply system The Washington Post published a “blockbuster” (history is largely based on the black list, compiled by the brand new, fully anonymous group), containing the shocking claim that the stories “planted” or common in the framework of the Russian “disinformation campaign” received more than 213 million views.

This story fell apart almost immediately. In the “McCarthy” black list of Russian disinformation media that was accessed by the authors, including many popular sites. Article many condemned. And after two weeks, The Washington Post added to the article long editor’s note, by typing it at the beginning:

The Washington Post
Craig Timberg, 24 Nov 2016

Editor’s note: on 24 November 2016, The Washington Post published an article on the work of four groups of researchers studying what they call, “the actions of Russian propaganda aimed at undermining American democracy and interests.” One of these groups who insist on anonymity, published a report. In it scientists said more than 200 web sites that, in their view, wittingly or unwittingly publish Russian propaganda information or agree with it. Some of these sites was to be included in the list of groups PropOrNot, and some (like sites not included in this list) openly questioned the panel’s methodology and its conclusions. The Washington Post, did not indicate the names of these web sites itself can not vouch for the accuracy of the scientific conclusions of the group PropOrNot in relation to any individual, media, and authors such purpose before itself did not put. Since the publication of the article in the Washington Post, the group PropOrNot removed some sites from the list.

A few weeks before this edition of Slate published another well publicized article about trump and Russia. The authors stated that it was discovered a secret server that trump’s company the Trump Organization used to communicate with a Russian Bank. After this story was hyped Hillary Clinton herself, many media outlets (including The Intercept) unmasked article, noting that the plot of this information is already several months, but nobody believed it. Finally, The Washington Post has clearly stated how reckless was her statement:

The Washington Post
In all probability, the secret of the mail server for communication trump with Russia is no secret and when trump with Russia is not intended

Philip Bump November 1, 2016.

Of all that was to create a Trump of the problem in these elections, “a mail server in automatic mode” I would put in the bottom of the list

A few weeks later channel C-SPAN reported the sensational news, announcing that its computer system was hacked and controlled by Russian state news channel RT:

— CSPAN (@cspan) January 12, 2017

Today the broadcasting of the TV channel C-SPAN live broadcast was briefly interrupted. Instead, he started to broadcast programs of the TV channel RT. At the moment we do the test, trying to find the cause of the incident. Since RT is one of the channels that we regularly and carefully monitored, we assume that it is the problem of internal distribution. If our opinion changes, we will notify you about it.
13 Jan 2017

It also turned out to be completely unfounded, and channel C-SPAN had to refute your statement:

Correction: initially the story was entitled “C-SPAN confirms the short-term intrusion into their network, which was used by the Russian information channel”. Channel C-SPAN confirmed that a brief cessation of the broadcast, but has not yet determined the reason for the termination of broadcasting”

In the same period of time — December 2016 — the Guardian published an article by reporter Ben Jacobs, who testified that WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange (Julian Assange) “has long established close relations with the Putin regime. This statement, along with several other statements made in this article was fabricated. And the guide, The Guardian had to print the article rebuttal:

The text of this article have been changed. In particular, we removed the sentence stating that Assange “has long established close relations with the Putin regime”. Also deleted the proposal, which retold the content of the interview and stated that, according to Assange, “WikiLeaks is no need to assume the role of the whistleblower in Russia, by reason of existing there, according to him, open and competitive debate.” Changes were made to clarify the wording of the question was answered Assange, speaking of the “many bright resonance publications”.

Perhaps the most significant information spreading in Russia was publication of the firm CrowdStrike, hired by the National Committee of the Democratic party to investigate hacking of your mail server. And again, in the same period of time — in December 2016, the firm has published a new report, accusing the Russian hackers in improper actions (including in respect of the Ukrainian army). Many of the media (of course, including The Washington Post) without the slightest share of criticism this report is “hyped”.

As written by The Washington Post, “firm concerned with cyber security issues, has found conclusive evidence of a link between the group that hacked the mail server of the National Committee of the Democratic party, and the military intelligence service — the core service behind the Kremlin’s meddling in the 2016 elections. Firm CrowdStrike linked the malware used to infiltrate the computer systems of the democratic Committee, the bad, helped to crack and monitor applications in the Android phones that were used by Ukrainian soldiers during fighting vs Pro-Russian separatists in the East of Ukraine since the end of 2014 to 2016 inclusive”.

But the story crumbled to dust. In March, after some experts questioned the validity of the statements of specialists of security firm CrowdStrike, she “reviewed and refuted his statements made in support of the allegations that Russia committed hacker attacks with the intention of interfering in last year’s US presidential election. And “CrowdStrike has refused the basic of statements made in its report on Ukraine”.

In these episodes, the most striking is that they all pursue the same goal: “to promote” and to exaggerate the threat from the Kremlin. All media make mistakes, and it is to be expected. But when all “mistakes” are done for promotion of the same rhetorical themes, and when they all eventually pursue the same advocacy goal, it becomes apparent that they are not a “byproduct” mere ordinary journalistic mistakes.

Publishing alarmist statements about the Russian threat and the relationship of the tramp with Russia, you can benefit immensely. The stories that the Kremlin and Putin depicted as a dangerous villains, spread faster than the other, they create the great flow of messages and provide those who distribute the main part of the professional advantages, such as the invitation to the TV, along with praise for the network and commercial benefit. That is why such a huge audience is now run by openly stupid and empty conspiracy-opponents of trump. And in the minds of the audience speak of the theory of Russian conspiracies. Because opposed to trump’s Internet users and viewers of cable television experience insatiable appetite for stories in which they want to believe (regardless of how they are false). Conversely, one who expresses any skepticism about such stories, becomes the victim of mass accusations that he is a supporter of the Kremlin or explicit agent.

At desire it is possible to consider as coincidence is the connection between these enormous advantages and benefits and this is a long list of reckless stories about Russia. But occupying this position the person may seem overly generous (and sometimes deliberately gullible). For those who thinks so, there are serious professional and commercial rewards. And even if they got caught, they little faces (at least, it was until last night when I fired these journalists CNN).

Related — and perhaps more revealing — the dynamics is that when it comes to the exaggeration of the threat posed by countries that are considered official “duty enemy” without journalistic standards can be dispensed with, and often, no one follows. Is a journalistic principle which more than once declared about himself. And Iraq here is the most memorable (but not the only) example.

In short, when it comes to periodic charges (regardless of how baseless they are) to the official us enemies, everything is allowed, and the object of the charges can be anyone. Today this role is played by Russia. In more General terms — the less authority and power used by the country in the eyes of official Washington, the more acceptable to the American media is publishing false statements in her address. As evidenced by this outrageously filled with lies article about the leading Comedy political shows on RT, Lee camp (Camp Lee), recently published in the New York Times. (It now also has a few bug fixes).

Besides, the reality is that the vast majority of articles and reports about Russia and about the alleged relationship of the tramp with the Kremlin, based entirely on unsubstantiated statements by anonymous officials, many (if not most) of which are hatching secret plans. This means that they are free to make completely false statements, not caring about the consequences.

The fact that now there is a basic problem with the coverage of Russian topics, even recognizes the leadership of CNN. In this latest shameful failure of the Executive editor of one of the divisions of CNN has issued a circular (ranked in the order of publication BuzzFeed) introducing new editorial restrictions on “placing any material about Russia.” This is a very remarkable condemnation of the actions of the media in relation to Moscow.

The value of these illegal actions of journalists in Russia is a nuclear power, cannot be overemphasized. This attitude to Russia defines US policy for over a year. The tension between these two historically hostile powers is incredibly explosive. Any kind of statement (no matter how justified they are) appeared in the political discourse of the United States to the fore and is perceived as a proven fact.

And it’s not depends on how the irresponsibility of journalists adds fuel to the fire and makes you believe in the viability of the campaign to the administration of the tramp, directed on discredit of journalism in General. And the President wasted no time, took advantage of this last blunder, and attacked the media:

Wow, CNN had to retract a big story on “Russia,” with 3 employees forced to resign. What about all the other phony stories they do? FAKE NEWS!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2017

Donald J. Trump
✔ @realDonaldTrump
Wow! CNN was forced to refute “sensational article about Russia”, and three journalists had to leave. What about other false materials that they produce? The distributors of fake news!
13:33 PM — 27 Jun 2017

Given what’s at stake, the coverage of these issues should be dealt with great care. But as shown by this string of awkward situations, denials and lies, the media for the past year, guided by completely different considerations.

Revised: 27 June 2017, 13:03
In the original text of this article erroneously stated that the publication of the Slate is owned by The Washington Post. It is owned by Graham Holdings, which was the owner of The Washington Post until until in until in 2013 it was bought by Jeff Bezos (Jeff Bezos). During the sale of company Graham Holdings left edition of Slate in their property.

Clarification: June 28, 2017, 9:03 am
The article was edited to clarify that media such as Fortune (and not C-SPAN) that falsely claimed that C-SPAN was hacked at RT, the result of C-SPA explained that he did not know the cause of the interrupt.