A full blown war broke out between President-elect Donald Trump's transition team and news network CNN on Wednesday, and one of the points of contention is about one little link in a news story.
The link is at issue because CNN is attempting to distance itself and its reporting on Russian intelligence on Trump from Buzzfeed's reporting which has been roundly criticized as not meeting standard journalistic practices. CNN's Jake Tapper went so far as to call Buzzfeed out by name during the course of the network's response to Trump after yesterday's press conference. Trump Special Advisor Kellyanne Conway and other Trump surrogates are trying to conflate the two, in an attempt to sink CNN with the lead weight around Buzzfeed's neck.
In a combative interview with CNN host Anderson Cooper on Wednesday, Conway claimed that CNN linked directly to the questionable Buzzfeed article containing the widely criticized and likely fake dossier. Here she is making the claim on Twitter:
Fact-check: Ahead of my spirited interview with @AC360, here is @CNN report linking AND discussing BuzzFeed report. https://t.co/nVoKLTOKMz— Kellyanne Conway (@Kellyanne Conway)1484180289.0
Unfortunately, her evidence is somewhat lacking, as CNN reporter Jim Sciutto — who was one of the original people to break the story — explained:
in fact, @KellyannePolls, this links to @DylanByers story on the controversy: https://t.co/NufJL9qfHA Not to buzzfe… https://t.co/ZRKYnjnrYd— Jim Sciutto (@Jim Sciutto)1484183478.0
Sciutto accused Conway of a misleading statement because her tweet was a screenshot and no one can actually click on the link - but her claim that they link to the Buzzfeed story is false since it goes to a CNN-Money article instead. In the face of Sciutto's retort, Conway moved the goalposts:
Fact, @JimSciutto @DylanByers @AC360 linked article says "BuzzFeed" 15x, "BuzzFeed and Trump Memos" so that ppl sea… https://t.co/Sr7iYCZ8vp— Kellyanne Conway (@Kellyanne Conway)1484184017.0
Fact @KellyannePolls you said repeatedly on our air we LINKED to the buzzfeed story, which we did not, not that a s… https://t.co/7bq0aDI5mt— Jim Sciutto (@Jim Sciutto)1484184153.0
Even CNN's public relations account had to chime in:
There are no links to the docs published by BuzzFeed anywhere in CNN's story. @KellyannePolls claims are false. https://t.co/gFZzKsvStF— CNN Communications (@CNN Communications)1484194838.0
At stake is whether CNN will be able to separate its reporting from that of Buzzfeed, or if the Trump team will be able to glue them to Buzzfeed and its poor reporting.
Here's part of the contentious interview between CNN's Anderson Cooper and Kellyanne Conway, where she repeatedly accuses CNN of linking to the Buzzfeed story, and Cooper repeatedly denies it:
This is good from Cooper, but in general what's the point of putting Trumpkins on TV if they’re just going to lie? https://t.co/4lheRSaa2V
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) January 12, 2017