NewsBusters executive editor Tim Graham appeared on the Fox Business program Risk & Reward on Wednesday night to discuss the “news” judgment of the liberal website BuzzFeed and how CNN presented their scoop, with a degree of separation. “I think we have a so-called news outlet in BuzzFeed, which is showing a complete recklessness in what it presents. It really a National Enquirer level of shamelessness,” Graham said.
CNN claimed what they did was far different than BuzzFeed, that they didn’t post raw documents or describe the unconfirmed (and vulgar) deeds detailed within. But Graham said CNN pranced around about the First Amendment when they were hinting to viewers they should go looking for the BuzzFeed file. Then Fox Business host Liz McDonald suggested new reporting from NBC News was challenging CNN’s version of events:
GRAHAM: I believe what CNN reported yesterday about this time was that Trump had been presented with a classified document, NBC is also saying you didn’t bring a classified document intoTrump Tower. And then there’s the whole notion it was presented to Trump as ‘Well, here is the kind of garbage that is out there about you” – well, that’s not the tone of the coverage we've been getting. As your snippet showed, we had 44 minutes on the three – ABC, CBS, NBC morning shows on this today – 44 minutes of coverage of something that’s unconfirmed, coming from an anonymous source, who used this British official, who has been shopping it, trying to hurt Trump, for months!
McDonald then asked “Sorry to say this, but I think Dan Rather is an excellent journalist. But he did get in trouble, wrongfully reporting about George W. Bush. Is this CNN's Dan Rather moment?” Graham said no:
GRAHAM: No, because I think what Dan Rather did was he -- these guys had a standard, he and his producer Mary Mapes had a standard of “You have to disprove what we're reporting, you have to disprove these phony documents that we have that have been faxed to us from a Kinko’s.” That is not the standard they [CNN] are using. But yes, BuzzFeed does have a standard here, what they’re basically saying is, well, “The reader can figure it out, we just want to throw it out against the wall and see what sticks.” That is not real news, and CNN people like Brian Stelter ought to be decrying it.