Uh oh, Lucy, you got some splaining to do.
Former FBI Director James Comey’s release of his opening statement one day prior to his testimony scheduled Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee left egg on the face of CNN.
It also demonstrated a danger with basing a story entirely on an unnamed source and compelled the cable news giant to publish an embarrassing retraction.
Under the headline, “Comey expected to refute Trump,” CNN reported Tuesday that:
Trump has made a blanket claim that Comey told him multiple times that he was not under investigation. But one source said Comey is expected to explain to senators that those were much more nuanced conversations from which Trump concluded that he was not under investigation.
In anticipation of what the network believed his testimony would disclose, CNN displayed a countdown clock, ticking off the hours, minutes and seconds before Comey’s scheduled appearance.
CNN COMEY CLOCKDOWN CLOCK is set to exact second he is due to speak . Hilarious. Havent seen CNN since desert storm. https://t.co/11kUAqpjo8
— GrinningSoul (@MsGrinningSoul) June 7, 2017
The network clearly believed Thursday morning would be a “pass the popcorn” moment.
Pundit and CNN political analyst Gloria Borger was more direct.
“Comey is going to dispute the president on this point if he’s asked about it by senators, and we have to assume that he will be,” she said. “He will say he never assured Donald Trump that he was not under investigation, that that would have been improper for him to do so.”
However, rather than refuting the president, it turned out Comey’s testimony would refute CNN. The pertinent part of his opening statement said:
Prior to the January 6 meeting, I discussed with the FBI’s leadership team whether I should be prepared to assure President-Elect Trump that we were not investigating him personally. That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him. We agreed I should do so if circumstances warranted. During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President Elect Trump’s reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance.
CNN published an update and the popcorn was presumably thrown in the trash. The network changed its headline to “Comey unlikely to judge on obstruction” and reported:
CORRECTION AND UPDATE: This article was published before Comey released his prepared opening statement. The article and headline have been corrected to reflect that Comey does not directly dispute that Trump was told multiple times he was not under investigation in his prepared testimony released after this story was published.
The backpedalling didn’t escape the notice of social media. The Washington Free Beacon’s Alex Griswold tweeted:
Really looks like CNN whiffed on this one pic.twitter.com/p4DdXVzaje
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) June 7, 2017
Life comes at you at a brisk pace pic.twitter.com/zwzi60fhXF
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) June 7, 2017
Here are the screenshots with the chyron’s in full:
Yes, life does tend to come at you fast — and CNN thought it was on such a roll. And the cable news giant;s faux pas brought on the snark.
Wow, CNN/WAPO literally have had 5+ stories either debunked or retracted in the past 2 weeks.. #FakeNews
— Johnny Wishbone (@JWishbon3) June 7, 2017
“Comey does not directly dispute” is about the weakest correction they could come up with
— Phil Adams (@padamstx) June 8, 2017
@cnn has earned its fakenews monikker.
— Anna Navarro (@Ana_Navarroe) June 8, 2017
Marsha is gonna flip out pic.twitter.com/qgWDME8R74
— Wolfgang Faust (@wolfgangfaustX) June 7, 2017
And what of that “Comey countdown clock?” The network removed it without comment.
— Jon Hall ? (@NewsNukeJon) June 8, 2017
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