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How a ‘bogus’ CNN story has revived the ‘fake news’ debate

Published: Updated:

Time Warner’s news division CNN has accepted the resignations of three journalists after the publication of a Russia-related article that was later retracted, a CNN spokesperson said on Monday.

The episode is a damaging blow for a network that Trump has frequently derided as “fake news,” and for a story that never even made it onto any of CNN’s television networks.

The three journalists included Thomas Frank, the writer of the story; Eric Lichtblau, an editor in CNN’s investigative unit; and Lex Haris, who oversaw the unit, the network had earlier reported.

The Russia-related story, published on Thursday, reported Congress was investigating the ties of a Russian investment fund to an aide of US President Donald Trump.

‘Fake news’

CNN tops President Donald Trump’s list of objectionable news outlets, one that he famously claimed in a January transition press conference was “fake news,” even though the reporting he was referring to - about high-level intelligence briefings - was 100 percent correct.

CNN had reported an internal investigation by its management found that certain editorial processes were not followed when the article was published. The report said CNN had deleted the story from its website on Friday night after its investigation.

The story was replaced with an editor’s note of apology to Anthony Scaramucci, the Trump aide who was reported to be investigated in the story.

Trump has been critical of CNN, calling the news outlet “fake news” and refusing to take a CNN reporter’s questions at his first formal news conference earlier in the year after his Nov. 8 electoral win.

According to another report, critics will long cite this episode as evidence that CNN is precisely what Trump has called it - “fake news.”

Yet the departure of three journalists immediately following a mangled story provides a counterpoint to this particular slander. Purveyors of fake news, after all, don’t take drastic personnel moves following a bogus story. They rejoice in it, says the report.