CNN Rushes to Pile on ‘Completely False’ Fox News FBI Story Spreading ‘Lies’ in ‘Echo Chamber’

On Friday morning, the rush to gang up on Fox News and Special Report host Bret Baier over his FBI story was full speed ahead with CNN repeatedly harping on Baier’s “completely false” bombshell being “a prime example of the echo chamber at work” spreading “lies” to hurt Hillary Clinton. 

Morning CNN Newsroom host Carol Costello spent the first of two segments knocking Baier in reference to North Carolina GOP official Brad Woodhouse’s Thursday appearance on MSNBC that alluded to the bombshell FBI report about the Clinton Foundation while Woodhouse predicted that Clinton could one day end up in handcuffs. 

Following two clips of Woodhouse, Costello complained that his arguments go “along, I guess, with Trump calling Hillary Clinton a crook and those false reports that are out there right now that Clinton is near indictment and those reports are completely false” to which NY1's Errol Louis nodded in agreement. 

With that taking place in the 9:00 a.m. Eastern hour, Costello circled back to again piling on Baier in the 10:00 a.m. Eastern hour with Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter featuring this ironic lead-in touting CNN’s anonymous sources as saying something different than the anonymous sources Fox News had:

Conservative blogs lighting up this week when Fox News anchor Bret Baier said an indictment is likely when it comes the FBI inquiry into the Clinton Foundation. Our sources and other news outlets say that just isn't true. Baier has since walked back those comments but the heat is far from over.

<<< Please consider helping NewsBusters financially with your tax-deductible contribution today >>>

Stelter continued on that theme of touting anonymous sources from other networks and arguing that such reporting from Fox News was indicative of their straight-news journalists living in an “echo chamber.”

“This is a prime example of the echo chamber at work. People wanting to believe good news about their side, bad news about the other side in the waning days of this election, but as you said, Carol, sources talking to CNN, NBC, ABC, other news outlets say that the claim that indictments are likely was just completely unfounded. He was relying on anonymous sources who seem to have an agenda,” Stelter opined.

He then took on a statement from one of Donald Trump’s Thursday rallies promoting the FNC story and then extrapolating his own conclusion but credited Baier for some of what he dropped on Wednesday: “Fox is not entirely off base here. Yes, there is a divide inside the FBI. There is an active inquiry into the Clinton Foundation. Numerous field offices looking into the activities of the foundation.”

“On Thursday, he walked it back, said that the way he was describing what his sources were telling them was not quite right and so credit to him for acknowledging that. However, sort of too late,” Stelter added.

The segment wound down with more from CNN’s senior media correspondent as he touted Clinton campaign allies calling for the FBI to issue a statement lashing out at the “lies” in “a baseless Fox News report” (while Costello was heard laughing through part of this):

Lies spread so much more widely than the truth spreads and so now the Clinton campaign is on the offense saying the FBI needs to come out with a public statement about this, refuting what they say is a baseless Fox News report. We’ve also heard Clinton allies just this hour calling for an investigation of the FBI over all these leaks because that's really what's incredible about this, Carol. [COSTELLO LAUGHING] We are seeing numerous sources in and around the FBI seeming to leak information about Clinton, about ongoing inquiries about Clinton. It is a very unusual situation.

The relevant portions of the transcript from CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello on November 4 can be found below.

CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello
November 4, 2016
9:22 a.m. Eastern

N.C. GOP EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DALLAS WOODHOUSE [on MSNBC, 11/03/16]: You know, she is accused of misdeeds with her e-mails. She is accused of problems and with the Clinton Foundation. People in America don't trust her. There is no suppression problem because early voting is vastly up all across North Carolina. 

CAROL OSTELLO: Again this is the director of the North Carolina Republican Party and um, you know, it goes along I guess with Trump calling Hillary Clinton a crook and those false reports that are out there right now that Clinton is near indictment and those reports are completely false. 

ERROL LOUIS: Yes. 

COSTELLO: But I suppose it works with some group of voters.

(....)

10:52 a.m. Eastern

COSTELLO: Conservative blogs lighting up this week when Fox News anchor Bret Baier said an indictment is likely when it comes the FBI inquiry into the Clinton Foundation. Our sources and other news outlets say that just isn't true. Baier has since walked back those comments but the heat is far from over. Senior media correspondent and host of CNN's Reliable Sources, Brian Stelter, joins me with more on this. Good morning. 

BRIAN STELETER: This is a prime example of the echo chamber at work. People wanting to believe good news about their side, bad news about the other side in the waning days of this election, but as you said, Carol, sources talking to CNN, NBC, ABC, other news outlets say that the claim that indictments are likely was just completely unfounded. He was relying on anonymous sources who seem to have an agenda, but what happened after his report on Wednesday, well, take a look at what Donald Trump said about it on the campaign trail. 

DONALD TRUMP: It was reported last night that the FBI is conducting a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton's pay for play corruption during her tenure as secretary of state. In other words, the FBI is investigating how Hillary Clinton put the office of secretary of state up for sale in violation of federal law. The FBI agents say their investigation is likely to yield an indictment. 

STELTER: Likely to yield an indictment is the claim there from Trump at the end. There were several questionable statements in those comments from Trump that seem to be provoked by the Fox News reporting. But to be clear here, Fox is not entirely off base here. Yes, there is a divide inside the FBI. There is an active inquiry into the Clinton Foundation. Numerous field offices looking into the activities of the foundation. Some agents seem to believe there were serious improprieties that should be investigated further, but as of right now there's nothing imminent, no serious legal jeopardy for Clinton at this moment. So, Trump clearly took it too far and he took it too far based on Fox's reporting. I think what's interesting about this is you see how conservative blogs and websites have taken this and run with it. It is in a way wish fulfillment and this happens to lots of folks on all sides in the final days of an election. 

COSTELLO: Well, they’re getting it from what they consider a trust source. I think it's important to point out Brett Baier said he didn't say it artfully and he walked it back. 

STELTER: He did walk it back. On Thursday, he walked it back, said that the way he was describing what his sources were telling them was not quite right and so credit to him for acknowledging that. However, sort of too late. Lies spread so much more widely than the truth spreads and so now the Clinton campaign is on the offense saying the FBI needs to come out with a public statement about this, refuting what they say is a baseless Fox News report. We’ve also heard Clinton allies just this hour calling for an investigation of the FBI over all these leaks because that's really what's incredible about this, Carol. [COSTELLO LAUGHING] We are seeing numerous sources in and around the FBI seeming to leak information about Clinton, about ongoing inquiries about Clinton. It is a very unusual situation.


Please support NewsBusters today! (a 501c3 non-profit production of the Media Research Center)

DONATE
Tell the Truth 2016 CyberAlerts Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Double Standards Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats CNN CNN Newsroom Video Government & Press FBI James Comey Clinton Foundation Carol Costello Brian Stelter Bret Baier Donald Trump Hillary Clinton
Curtis Houck's picture