CNN issued a statement Wednesday defending the accuracy of its reporting after President-elect Donald Trump refused to take a question from one of the network’s reporters earlier in the day at a press conference.
At his press conference, Trump criticized outlets reporting on an unverified dossier claiming Russia has compromising information about him.
CNN reported that a two-page synopsis of the dossier was used to brief both President Barack Obama and President-elect Trump. CNN did not detail the allegations in the full dossier and reported that that the claims were unverified. The dossier, CNN reported, was compiled by a “former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible.”
BuzzFeed, meanwhile, published the full 35-page dossier while acknowledging that they had not corroborated anything contained within.
The lurid allegations in the document published by BuzzFeed were denied by Trump.
FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
Meanwhile, NBC News reported that Trump was not informed about the unverified reports that Russia possesses compromising information about him “during last week’s intelligence briefing.”
NBC also revealed that, while a summary of the dossier “was prepared as background material for the briefing,” it was not discussed at the time. Trump, reportedly, became aware of the information “outside that meeting.”
At the press conference, Trump called BuzzFeed “a failing pile of garbage” and accused CNN of building the story up.
CNN senior White House reporter Jim Acosta asked Trump to take his question “since you’re attacking us.” Trump told him to be “quiet” and said his “terrible organization” publishes “fake news.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for CNN said their report is “vastly different” from BuzzFeed’s publication of “unsubstantiated claims” and that the network stands by the accuracy of its own reporting.
They also challenged members of the Trump transition team who criticized their report to “identify, specifically, what they believe to be inaccurate.”
Statement from CNN: pic.twitter.com/WttyOCxQxp
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) January 11, 2017
CNN host Jake Tapper also defended the network’s “responsible reporting” on the matter.
Efforts today to conflate responsible reporting on IC presentation of 2 page annex with irresponsible posting of uncorroborated 35-pager.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 11, 2017
During remarks on CNN, Tapper said that “no one has disputed” that a two-page synopsis of the allegations was presented to both Trump and Obama, but CNN chose not to report on the specific allegations because they could not verify them. He added that the network sought comment from the Trump transition team multiple times on its report.
Tapper then criticized Trump for not taking Acosta’s question: “What I suspect we are seeing here is an attempt to discredit legitimate, responsible attempts to report on this incoming administration with irresponsible journalism that hurts us all.”
The CNN anchor added that the media should “keep that in mind” going forward.
He further criticized Buzzfeed, saying it’s “irresponsible to put uncorroborated information on the internet.”
“I can understand why President-elect Trump would be upset about that, I would be upset about it too,” Tapper said. “It’s why we did not publish it, and why we did not detail any specifics from it because it is uncorroborated.”
After the press conference, Acosta alleged that as he continued his efforts to get Trump to take his question, incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer threatened to have him removed from the event.
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) January 11, 2017
A spokesperson for the Trump transition team did not immediately return TheBlaze’s request for comment on Acosta’s allegation about Spicer.