CNN's nakedly partisan reporting may have sunk to new lows this week.
The news network ran, not just one, but two stories reporting that President Donald Trump is balking at sanctions targeting Russia for its 2016 election interference and annexation of Crimea. However, what CNN did not report is that the 45th president signed tough sanctions on Friday that target the Kremlin's expansion into European oil markets.
Even the UK's BBC covered Trump approving the measures targeting a major Russian pipeline while the so-called "most trusted name in news" in the United States ignored.
Why did the U.S. target a Russian pipeline?
According to the BBC, the sanctions that Trump signed were part of an annual defense spending bill and specifically target firms that support the construction of Nord Stream 2, an undersea pipeline that would allow Russia to increase energy exports to Germany and the European Union.
The US considers the project a security risk to Europe. Both Russia and the EU have strongly condemned the US sanctions. Congress voted through the measures as part of a [defense] bill last week and the legislation, which described the pipeline as a "tool of coercion", was signed off by Mr Trump on Friday.
The British network added that the Russian pipeline project has strong bipartisan opposition in the U.S. Congress. Sanctions targeting it were sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). BBC noted that the Trump administration is concerned the pipeline will allow Moscow to control Europe's energy supply and reduce America's share of the European natural gas market.
Russia is said to currently supply 40% of the European Union's liquified natural gas. The new pipeline would allow Russia to bypass Ukraine and Poland and deliver gas directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea to Germany, according to Reuters. In addition, lawmakers in Washington say that Nord Stream 2 would likely deprive Ukraine of billions of dollars in fees.
What was CNN talking about then?
The Russian sanctions that CNN was referring to is a separate set of sanctions known as the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act that would not even be up for a full vote until next year. DASKA would slap Russia with a wide range of sanctions in retaliation for its interference in American elections and aggression in eastern Europe.
While it is true that the State Department has balked at the measures, CNN's headline—claiming "Trump administration opposes bill meant to deter Russia"—overstates the White House's opposition.
In a 22-page letter detailing its position on the matter, the State Department says it "shares the goal of deterring and countering Russian subversion and aggression," but says it "strongly opposes the bill in its current form" for a variety of reasons. Among them is that the bill "would divert resources from the ongoing aggressive targeting of Russian malign actors under existing authorities...as well as from efforts with respect to Iran, North Korea, ISIS, Venezuela, Hezbollah, counterterrorism, human rights and corruption and other (US government) priorities."
Although CNN explained some of these nuances in its coverage, as of the writing of this article, it has not yet reported on Nord Stream 2 sanctions on its website.