Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple put CNN and its poorly-rated media correspondent Brian Stelter on full blast for failing to handle the network’s previous protection hyping the now-discredited Steele dossier. 

Following the Durham probe indictment of Igor Danchenko, a Russian nationwide and first sub-source for the notorious memo drafted by ex-British spy Christopher Steele that fueled the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, the media has begun reflecting on its previous protection that erroneously confirmed varied claims from the dossier. The Washington Post, most notably, provided beautiful corrections and editor’s notes on no less than a dozen studies printed throughout the Trump administration.  

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However, as Wemple identified in his column on Tuesday, Stelter “hasn’t found air time” to say the Steele dossier on his Sunday program “Reliable Sources,” which allegedly covers the largest media tales, because the indictment provided a devastating blow to the dossier’s credibility.  

“We asked Stelter to explain the dossier’s omission. ‘No on the record comment,’ replied the stickler for public transparency via DM,” Wemple swiped the left-wing media guru. 

"Reliable Sources" averaged only 738,000 viewers in September. 

“Reliable Sources” averaged solely 738,000 viewers in September. 

Wemple accused CNN, the community that first broke the story concerning the existence of the dossier – which was later printed by BuzzFeed News, of “burying” its historical past with the anti-Trump memo, which he famous CNN had repeatedly claimed to have “corroborated.” 

The media critic then took purpose at a CNN report addressing the “reckoning” of the dossier and the way it “tease[s] the idea that CNN is now administering a dossier reckoning to CNN itself. Nothing close to that comes to fruition.” While the report acknowledges its bombshell on the dossier’s existence and a February 2017 report on U.S. officers allegedly corroborating sure particulars from it, it “leaves out how CNN’s top journalists bootstrapped that February 2017 story into sweeping and definitive commentary lending credibility to the entire dossier.”

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Wemple pivoted to an on-air report from final week addressing the dossier the place CNN anchor Pamela Brown instructed viewers, “We decided to take another look at what ultimately became an unreliable partisan-backed political memo that got a lot wrong.”

“Whoa! That assessment has shifted 180 degrees from the one that prevailed during the Trump years, when CNN staffers droned on about all the dossier’s wide-ranging ‘corroboration,'” Wemple reacted. “Yet CNN has pulled off this about-face without so much as a single statement or the slightest mea culpa from management. The Erik Wemple Blog has asked the network, again, about this situation, and hasn’t received a response.”

(ABC News)

“For the moment, CNN appears content to allow its sunny, erstwhile commentary about the Steele dossier to sit alongside its grim, new commentary about the Steele dossier. ‘Let the viewers figure it out’ appears to be the animating idea behind this journalistic abdication,” Wemple wrote. 

The Post columnist concluded the piece by questioning the “strategy” of CNN president Jeff Zucker, who allowed the community to be flooded with “copious airtime with one big story after another,” a lot of them prioritizing the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, saying such a singular focus “wasn’t healthy.”

“When you stake your network’s identity on a single story, and part of that story starts to fray, it takes a lot of courage to ’fess up. Courage that CNN appears to lack,” Wemple added.