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COMMENTARY OF THE DAY
by
Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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SEPTEMBER 4, 2018

     Davis is the blame, but so is CNN for not confirming what they report. The lawyer for President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen said he was blaming himself, not CNN, after the network ran a story about Cohen knowing the president had advance knowledge of that Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.  In an interview with Howard Kurtz on Fox News’ “MediaBuzz,” attorney Lanny Davis said he thought he was asking CNN to investigate a hunch he had that Trump knew about the meeting with the Russian lawyer, but that he did not make his uncertainty “clear enough.” “I can understand that they interpreted what I said as a confirmation, and have not blamed CNN,” Davis said. “I have blamed myself for not being more clear that, in my mind, I did not know the details about that meeting, and I should not have encouraged any reporter.”

     Davis added: “I do think, for everybody who deals with the media in my position, this is a lesson, maybe a teaching moment.  Don't even float stories on background, which is our expression for anonymously, unless you have a certainty of the facts, and you're asking reporters to go look to confirm those facts.” Despite Davis backing off the story, CNN is sticking by its reporting with reporter Jim Sciutto and Watergate legend Carl Bernstein saying they had more than one source for the story.

     CNN's story, written in late July, said Cohen was willing to say that he heard Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., tell his father about the Russians' offer to share material about Clinton, his Democratic rival for the presidency. It also said that Trump gave the go-ahead to take the meeting at Trump Tower. If true, that would contradict what Trump and representatives have long said, that he didn't know about the meeting until long after it happened. The network's original story cited “sources with knowledge” telling the network about Cohen's claim. The network noted in a follow-up story last Tuesday that Davis had admitted to being one of the sources for its original report. CNN technically didn't confirm that in the Tuesday story — networks hate to be in a position of revealing confidential sources, as analysts have noted — but the Tuesday report did indicate that Davis said he was a source.
 

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