Three CNN journalists have resigned after the cable news operation had to retract a published report of a “Russia-related” article, CNN said this evening.
The yanked article reported that Congress was investigating a “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials”; it cited a single anonymous source.
Out are Thomas Frank, who wrote the report; Eric Lichtblau, an editor in CNN’s new investigative unit under which it was reported; and Lex Haris, who oversaw the unit.
The article was published on CNN’s website; it also was shared on CNN’s social media platforms. It did not air on CNN.
“In the aftermath of the retraction of a story published on CNN.com, CNN has accepted the resignations of the employees involved in the story’s publication,” a network spokesman said. The network has said management investigated and found standard editorial processes were not followed in publishing the article.
CNN’s media pundit Brian Stelter reported those “types of stories” typically are reviewed by several departments within CNN before publication. That includes fact-checkers, journalism standards experts, and lawyers.
In a staff meeting Monday afternoon, investigative unit members were told that the retraction did not mean the facts of the story were necessarily wrong.
On Friday, one of the people named in the story, Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci, had disputed Frank’s reporting. CNN deleted the story from CNN.com Friday night, replacing it with an editor’s note and an apology to Scaramucci, who tweeted in response:
“CNN did the right thing. Classy move. Apology accepted. Everyone makes mistakes. Moving on.”
Frank worked for USA Today and Newsday for three decades before coming to work at CNN. Lichtblau, who won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting during his years at the New York Times, joined CNN three months ago. Haris was named the executive editor of CNN Investigates in January after serving as executive editor of CNNMoney.