CNN retracted a story late last week that connected a prominent ally of President Donald Trump with investigations into a Russian investment fund.
The story, which ran on June 22, claimed that investigators in the Senate Intelligence Committee were looking into connections between Anthony Scaramucci and the Russian Direct Investment Fund. In an editor’s note, CNN said the story “did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted,” before apologizing to Scaramucci.
While that should settle the matter, chances are this won’t be the last time you hear about the story, as it will be used by some to cast doubt on the integrity of the Russian investigation. Here’s what you need to know about the story.
What was the story?
The story claimed that Scaramucci was part of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election over his alleged ties to the state-run Russian Direct Investment Fund. The story was based on an anonymous source and claimed that a member of Trump’s transition team met with officials in the Russian bank.
Scaramucci took to Twitter to defend himself following the story, saying he “did nothing wrong.”
A source told BuzzFeed News that the story was a “massive, massive fuck up” and that people will be disciplined. An internal email from CNN shows that the company has imposed new rules on stories concerning the Russian investigation.
Scaramucci accepted CNN’s apology following the retraction.
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) June 24, 2017
Who is Anthony Scaramucci?
Scaramucci, 53, worked on Trump’s campaign. He’s the founder of SkyBridge Capital and was thought to be a leading candidate to join Trump’s administration.
Why does it matter?
By issuing a retraction—something reputable news sources do whenever they erroneously report something—CNN illustrates the difference between an actual journalistic outlet and say, a blog that puppets fake news stories.
While retractions show journalistic transparency, it has only fueled the fervent opinions of right-wing websites such as Breitbart, who called the story “very fake news.”
A retraction from an outlet like CNN on something such as the Russian investigation is only going to ramp up the calls that the whole situation is a “witch hunt” and “hoax” despite numerous things that point to the opposite, including several investigations in Congress and a special counsel appointed to look into it.