Three CNN journalists, including the head of the network’s investigative unit, have resigned over a Russia-related article that was later retracted. The company has also implemented new guidelines for stories related to Russia.
CNN, citing a congressional source, reported last Thursday that U.S. Senate investigators were examining a Russian investment fund whose chief executive allegedly met with a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team. The story was deleted and retracted the next day.
“CNN.com published a story connecting Anthony Scaramucci with investigations into the Russian Direct Investment Fund,” an editor’s note published on Saturday said. “That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled. CNN apologizes to Mr. Scaramucci.”
A CNN spokesman confirmed on Monday that the network had accepted the resignations of Thomas Frank, who wrote the story; Lex Haris, the executive editor in charge of CNN Investigates; and Eric Lichtblau, an editor in the investigative unit.
CNN reported that an internal review found that some standard editorial processes were not followed, noting that the story relied on a single, anonymous source. But it added that the retraction did not necessarily mean that the facts of the story were wrong.
“On Friday, CNN retracted a story published by my team,” Haris said in a statement published by CNN. “I’ve been with CNN since 2001, and am sure about one thing: This is a news organization that prizes accuracy and fairness above all else. I am leaving, but will carry those principles wherever I go.”
Rich Barbieri, the executive editor of CNNMoney, told staff members in an email on Saturday that any Russia-related content would now have to be approved by him or a colleague. “No exceptions,” the note said.
Scaramucci, a member of Trump’s transition team and a fundraiser and adviser for Trump’s presidential campaign, welcomed CNN’s retraction in a tweet on Saturday. “CNN did the right thing. Classy move. Apology accepted. Everyone makes mistakes. Moving on,” he said.
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