It’s already clear the mainstream media was one of Thursday’s biggest losers. Former FBI director James Comey ripped the New York Times and other news outlets for using anonymous sources and classified material they didn’t understand to report on Trump’s ties to Russian officials.
But in the wake of Comey’s testimony, CNN added to its own embarrassment. Thursday night, the network was forced to issue a correction after it reported—for two days straight—that once under oath, Comey would dispute the President’s claims that Comey had assured him he was not under FBI investigation.
The story, titled “Comey Expected to Refute Trump,” was (of course) based on the word of “several anonymous sources.” Four reporters—Gloria Borger, Eric Lichtblau, Jake Tapper and Brian Rokus—were listed on the byline.
“Trump has made a blanket claim that Comey told him multiple times that he was not under investigation,” the now-corrected story claimed, according to the Washington Post. “But one source said Comey is expected to explain to senators that those were much more nuanced conversations from which Trump concluded that he was not under investigation.”
All evening Tuesday and all day Wednesday, CNN ran with the story, blaring its Comey prediction boldly on their on-screen banners. Several CNN panels discussed the story. One of the story’s authors, Borger, was adamant that her sources were on the money.
“Comey is going to dispute the president on this point if he’s asked about it by senators, and we have to assume that he will be,” Borger told one panel. “He will say he never assured Donald Trump that he was not under investigation, that that would have been improper for him to do so.”
That story turned out to be very wrong.
Comey’s opening statement, released Wednesday, supported the President’s claim that Comey had told him repeatedly that he was not under investigation. On Thursday, Comey testified that not only did he reassure Trump on several occasions, but that he, Comey, saw absolutely nothing wrong in his actions.
CNN added a correction to its story that spins the matter in a rather odd way.
CORRECTION AND UPDATE: This article was published before Comey released his prepared opening statement. The article and headline have been corrected to reflect that Comey does not directly dispute that Trump was told multiple times he was not under investigation in his prepared testimony released after this story was published.
Technically, Comey did more than “not directly dispute” Trump’s claims. He actually came out and said he spoke to the President several times and told him that he was not under investigation. But okay, CNN, you do you.