CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Wolf Blitzer struggled to defend their employers’ reputation following a Wednesday press conference where President-elect Donald Trump slammed the cable network as “fake news.”
After the press conference, Tapper attempted to differentiate between his network’s reporting and Buzzfeed’s, the latter of which published a 35-page dossier full of unsubstantiated details claiming, among other things, that Trump was involved in perverted sex acts while visiting Russia.
“At the beginning of the press conference, Sean Spicer, who is going to be the White House press secretary, suggested that both BuzzFeed and CNN published this dossier full of uncorroborated rumors. That’s not true. That’s false. CNN never did that. We never provided even one detail from that dossier except this morning when I said that there was reason to believe that one detail that had been out there because of BuzzFeed was false involving Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen.” [emphasis added]
Tapper went on to clarify, “So, that conflation, whether it’s because Sean Spicer misunderstood or some other reason, that’s not true. CNN did not do that.”
Later, Tapper theorized Trump’s “fake news” outburst at CNN reporter Jim Acosta was an attempt to discredit the media organization.
“When Mr. Trump went after our own Jim Acosta saying he is ‘fake news’ and he isn’t going to call on him, what I suspect we are seeing here is an attempt to discredit legitimate, responsible attempts to report on this incoming administration with irresponsible journalism that hurts us all and the media going forward should keep that in mind,” Tapper stated.
“I can understand why President-Elect Trump would be upset about it,” Tapper said. “That’s why we did not detail any specifics from it because it was uncorroborated and that’s not what we do. We are in the business of sussing out what is true and false.”
The network also released a statement claiming, “We are fully confident in our reporting.”
Statement from CNN: pic.twitter.com/WttyOCxQxp
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) January 11, 2017
At his first presser since being elected, Trump explained there was “false and fake” information leaked to journalists which media outlets Buzzfeed and CNN ran with.
“Information that was false and fake and never happened got released to the public, as far as Buzzfeed, which is a failing pile of garbage, writing it – I think they’re going to suffer the consequences, they already are – and as far as CNN going out of their way to build it up,” Trump stated.
“It’s a disgrace what took place, it’s a disgrace and I think they ought to apologize to start with, Michael Cohen,” Trump said, before refusing to answer a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta and stating, “You are fake news.”
According to reports, the information contained in the 35-page dossier had already been circulating among journalists, the intelligence community and elected officials since last year.
Trump also labeled CNN “fake news” last month while the network continued to report the business mogul would “be working on The Apprentice” during his presidency.
Reports by @CNN that I will be working on The Apprentice during my Presidency, even part time, are ridiculous & untrue – FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2016
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