‘Happens All the Time’: ‘Reliable Sources’ Downplays Lanny Davis Snafu

CNN’s already shaky credibility took a pretty big hit last week after Michael Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis came out and admitted he was the key source behind their erroneous reporting that suggested President Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting in advance. Despite host Brian Stelter being on vacation, nothing was different during Sunday’s Reliable Sources with John Avlon at the helm, as he and the panel tried to downplay the controversy as something that “happens all the time”.

Avlon began by quipping about how one of the authors of the increasingly dubious report, Carl Bernstein, found himself named in a Presidential tweet criticizing CNN. And despite how the claims of the report had been proven false so far, Avlon mocked Trump’s “strenuous denials” of them.

After emphasizing that Davis was only one of CNN’s sources for the questionable report, Avlon wondered “why would Lanny Davis backtrack? It could be to save his client from a perjury trap given previous statements made to Congress.” And instead of attesting to the credibility of the other sources supposedly involved in the crumbling report, Avlon cited the on-air ramblings of MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch for some reason:

AVLON: But here’s the thing, in yet another confirmation, we know from statements made by Donny Deutsch on MSNBC that Cohen seems to have been talking openly along these lines. Here is what Deutsch had to say the day after CNN's reporting on Morning Joe.

DONNY DEUTSCH: What came out yesterday, to me, was not a surprise based on conversations that Michael and I had had. [Flash] Everything going on Trump knew about.

WILLIE GEIST: Did he reference this meeting in particular when you talked to him.

DEUTSCH: Yes, he did. Yes, he did.

 

 

Sticking up for Davis’s lies, CNN commentator and Spectrum News anchor Errol Louis started making excuses for him. “Maybe he realized that the legal interests of his client were different from what he was portraying it as,” he suggested. “And maybe he was just deciding he just wanted to get out of the story, in part because his client was sort of being pushed into a corner that may be at odds with what he has told the Justice Department.”

So, this kind of stuff happens all the time, there's a certain amount of ambiguity,” Louis dismissed. "Ambiguity" is a weasel word for "lying."

Louis’s real concern was President Trump seizing on that supposed ambiguity and using it to trick his unwitting supporters. “Repeating this narrative that the press in unreliable and taking any kind of ambiguity or complexity of a story and telling his people, ‘Look, if you think it’s complicated, that means it’s false,’” he opined.

Completely buying into Louis’s assertions, Avlon hyperbolically described it as “the great danger”. And of course, there was no discussion of how CNN lied to readers in the report by claiming Davis “declined to comment” when he was, in fact, the key source.

This is CNN.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

 

 

CNN
Reliable Sources
September 2, 2018
11:08:26 a.m. Eastern

(…)

JOHN AVLON: Now, moving onto the other side of the legendary Watergate Wood-stein duo, Carl Bernstein found himself in the President’s crosshairs for a story he reported for CNN with Jim Sciutto and Marshal Cohen. Namely, that Michael Cohen was prepared to testify that Trump knew about the infamous Trump Tower meeting with the Russians, despite the President strenuous denials.

Now the story was called into controversy when Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis backtracked on the claims and outed himself as ONE of the sources of the story. Why would Lanny Davis backtrack? It could be to save his client from a perjury trap given previous statements made to Congress. But here’s the thing, in yet another confirmation, we know from statements made by Donny Deutsch on MSNBC that Cohen seems to have been talking openly along these lines. Here is what Deutsch had to say the day after CNN's reporting on Morning Joe.

DONNY DEUTSCH: What came out yesterday, to me, was not a surprise based on conversations that Michael and I had had. [Flash] Everything going on Trump knew about.

WILLIE GEIST: Did he reference this meeting in particular when you talked to him.

DEUTSCH: Yes, he did. Yes, he did.

AVLON: Errol, this is a big story. How do you see it?

ERROL LOUIS: Well, look. The most important part of all this is the underlining idea that somebody who is in a position to know, namely Michael Cohen, told his lawyer, Lanny Davis. And Lanny Davis sort of repeated this to the press, that the guy was talking openly about the President knowing in advance about this very important meeting. It has tremendous political implications, tremendous legal implications for a lot of people, not just the President. It's really, really important.

So, for Lanny Davis to then sort of backtrack later and say, “You know what, I'm not 100 percent sure. Maybe he didn't hear what he thought he heard.” Maybe he realized that the legal interests of his client were different from what he was portraying it as. And maybe he was just deciding he just wanted to get out of the story, in part because his client was sort of being pushed into a corner that may be at odds with what he has told the Justice Department.

So, this kind of stuff happens all the time, there's a certain amount of ambiguity.

Now, for the President, he can just dismiss all of it and says, “Look, it's fake.” And that’s another way, I think, of energizing his base. Repeating this narrative that the press in unreliable and taking any kind of ambiguity or complexity of a story and telling his people, “Look, if you think it’s complicated, that means it’s false.”

AVLON: Right, which is the great danger. It’s a fascinating and important point.

(…)


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NBDaily Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Political Scandals Trump-Russia probe Cable Television CNN Reliable Sources Fake News Video John Avlon Errol Louis Lanny Davis Donald Trump