WaPo Columnist Pans CNN for Its Reporting on 'Corroborated' Parts of Steele Dossier
12:39 GMT 13.11.2021 (Updated: 19:56 GMT 18.10.2022)
The Washington Post moved to correct its 2017 articles on the infamous Steele Dossier, attaching an editor's note to them explaining what and why they had been changed. The move followed the revelations that Russian-born analyst Igor Danchenko, one of those behind the dossier, allegedly fabricated some of his sources.
The Washington Post's
media critic, Erik Wemple, has rolled out an opinion piece in which he suggested that CNN
should follow WaPo's lead
and retract the claims the network made in its 2017 reporting on the Steele Dossier in light of recent revelations.
Wemple referred to CNN's new reports on the Steele Dossier and how Igor Danchenko, a Russian-born analyst who took part in compiling it, was indicted last week over allegations that he lied to the FBI when testifying about gathering information for the dossier.
"There was one thing missing from that discussion: CNN's long-standing claim that the Steele Dossier had been at least partly corroborated", Wemple notes, proceeding to quote CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer from 2017, who said that "CNN, by the way, has corroborated some elements of that dossier".
He also cited another CNN anchor, Don Lemon, who said at the time: "Listen, so we haven't reported here on CNN the salacious details of that dossier, but much of the dossier has been corroborated".
Wemple recalls how the Steele Dossier has been debunked by both the US Justice Department and the FBI.
"In light of the recent developments, we asked CNN if it still stands by its 'corroboration' reporting and, if so, to which specific parts of the dossier does that apply? We received no response. So, we'll have to repeat the statement that the network provided for our 2020 story: 'CNN stands by our reporting. Our approach to the dossier has been consistent since day one. CNN only reported details when they were corroborated, part of a government filing, or publicly discussed by officials or those mentioned.'"
With The Washington Post editing its 2017 stories about the dossier, Wemple noted that news outlets like The Wall Street Journal and ABC News told him they were "reviewing" their past coverage of the notorious document.
When it comes to CNN and its coverage of the issue, Wemple notes it provided "a smattering of reports" and a CNN.com piece rolled out last Thursday after the Danchenko federal indictment emerged.
"By contrast, the 'corroboration' story of February 2017 received saturation coverage at a network programmed to hype all Trump-related items. That brand of asymmetry helps explain why many people mistrust CNN", Wemple said.
This is not the first The Washington Post's
media critic has noted how Danchenko's alleged fabrication of sources may be "bad news"
for media outlets that covered the story in 2017. With the Durham investigation unveiling new details and appearing to further undermine the debunked Steele Dossier
, Wemple pointed out how the outlets now face a "steep journalistic challenge" to keep their previous reports on the issue credible.