CNN’s New Day Amplifies Twitter Speculation That Trump’s Name is Under Redacted Sentencing Memo Text
CNN’s New Day considers itself the most journalistically sound cable news morning show, and that claim is not without significant evidence. Thursday morning, however, they appeared to irresponsibly promote unfounded speculation dug up from social media platform Twitter that strongly suggested that President Donald Trump‘s name is underneath the redacted text on Michael Flynn’s sentencing memo recently released by the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The brief report came at the end of a segment dedicated to the Mueller investigation with legal experts Susan Hennessey and Jeffrey Toobin. Host John Berman referenced a tweet published Wednesday by investigative journalist Scott Stedman:
So uh… pic.twitter.com/wkdIu9b2oR
— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) December 5, 2018
Berman offered “People on Twitter were literally speculating part of the blacked out part, it matched the number of characters in the words president Donald J. Trump” with the graphic of the tweet embedded above.
Critics will certainly see the promotion of an unverified claim that Trump is named in a redacted document flouts accepted journalistic standards, even if CNN’s producers will defend itself with the meta-argument of “simply reporting what’s being said on Twitter.” But promoting unverified claims just because they are on Twitter is still promoting unverified claims.
Or as Jeffrey Toobin chided individuals making such silly speculation “get a life!”
The cited tweet was questioned by Hennesy in a more nuanced manner and is embedded here in fairness to all involved:
This form of the redaction game basically never ends well. There are hundreds and hundreds of possibilities that fit and “President Donald J. Trump” is among the least likely. https://t.co/Ja4R2Q2aSS
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) December 5, 2018
Watch the segment above, courtesy of CNN.