CNN added a significant editor’s note to its Sept. 2017 “exclusive” claiming the U.S. government wiretapped Paul Manafort, Pres. Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman.
The article claimed the FBI got a secret court order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
The editor’s note reported that the Justice Department Inspector General’s Dec. 9, 2019 report said the FBI didn’t ask to wiretap Manafort. It reads:
“On December 9, 2019, the Justice Department Inspector General released a report regarding the opening of the investigation on Russian election interference and Donald Trump’s campaign. In the report, the IG contradicts what CNN was told in 2017, noting that the FBI team overseeing the investigation did not seek FISA surveillance of Paul Manafort: “We were also told that the team also did not seek FISA surveillance of Manafort…and we are aware of no information indicating that the Crossfire Hurricane team requested or seriously considered FISA surveillance of Manafort.”
The Washington Post‘s Erik Wemple criticized the editor’s note, writing, “Whichever CNN editor wrote this particular ‘editor’s note’ betrayed common editorial principles. To merely state that the original story was contradicted by the IG report is to abdicate the role of a news organization — to ferret out the truth — and drop this matter into the laps of readers.”
iMediaEthics has written to CNN to ask why it posted an editor’s note, not a correction, if it stands by its story in light of the Inspector General report, if it will rely on the same sources again, and if it has any further comment.