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Kurtz: The shadowy world of reporters and unnamed sources
‘MediaBuzz’ host Howard Kurtz weighs in on why CNN, is one of Michael Cohen’s story, his lawyer, Lanny Davis, says, is wrong.
Lanny Davis, who was commissioned, in high-stakes crisis management and political lawyering for decades, says that he made a mistake.
CNN, which rely on them, Davis is, at least partially, for a story he is now saying, incorrectly, does not want to say that it made a mistake.
And the contretemps contains a insightful look at the sausage-making of investigative reporting and the sometimes murky dance between reporters and their unnamed sources.
Davis, I’ve found, is a straight shooter over a quarter of a century dates back to the Clinton scandals, told me in a telephone interview yesterday that he has made a mistake and regretted it.
“I should not speak to reporters information about something I’m not sure,” Davis said to me, the description of his interactions with the CNN Reporter. “The combination of the big stakes and a big mistake is a bad moment for me. If I have a redo in life, I would have not said anything on the subject.”
To say after the first, nothing, here, the sum of the CNN comment is: “We stand by our story, and are confident in our reporting.” A CNN report said yesterday that Davis was his story in his dealings with the network.
Here’s the back story: CNN, a bomb was dropped in the last month by reporting that Davis’ customers, Michael Cohen, had the information that Donald Trump knew in the run-up to the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son, his son-in-law, campaign Chairman and a Russian lawyer. “Cohen is ready to said, the claim to special counsel Robert Müller,” according to “sources,” CNN.
The President has repeatedly payments, to the knowledge of the Assembly refuses to advance.
The story, whose bylines include Carl Bernstein and Jim Sciutto, received by the broadcast networks, and many other large media organizations.
But now Davis has outed himself as an anonymous source, the has for CNN and says Cohen is no information about the prior knowledge by the President.
In my interview, Davis said he told a CNN Reporter that he could not confirm the Trump Tower claim, but encouraged them to check it out. He now believes, she might have interpreted this as a green light.
“If I work for a client, whether it’s the White house or someone else’s, and there is something that could be true, but I’m not sure, I didn’t expect that Reporter about it the right way,” said Davis I. He said he had more to say, to keep track of the CNN journalists, a baseless story.
Davis added that he has not deliberately misled CNN’s Anderson Cooper said he was a source for the network. He said that he was not a confirmation of the source on the Trump Tower’s claim and said he was clear.
Implicit in the CNN, the is of the history that the network has other sources for the Trump Tower claim. But how could information about what does Cohen have to, if the President is a former lawyer, is essentially to say, by Davis, that he had no such information?
Cohen, of course, pleaded guilty last week to bank fraud, tax evasion and campaign Finance violations, the hush money payments to two women, and accusations against Trump.
The President, of course, bragged Davis’ record on Twitter.
The “Washington Post” on how to deal with Davis is very different. The Post had also dealt with him as an unnamed source.
As the newspaper reported, the day after the CNN story, “The Post reported that Cohen had told staff that he was witness of an exchange, in the Trump Jr, told his father about an upcoming meeting in which he expected to have information about Clinton. The Post reported that Trump, Jr told his father that the information from the Russians.
“The information in the Post story, which was the result of a person who was familiar with the discussions between Cohen’s friends, of Davis, who is now the recognition of his role on the plate.”
And that’s the thing. CNN does not need to protect, Davis, who has come clean about his role in the matter.
If the White house makes a mistake or clings to a baseless accusation, news-organizations-hammer-top-officials. Should a network have the same obligation to explain, even if one explosive story is denied by one of his own sources?
Davis says he has learned a valuable lesson, and “pulls back” on other claims he has made. The Washington lawyer, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, there was evidence that Trump knew in advance of the hack of the Democratic E-Mails.
He said it was his belief, but he had no hard evidence to back it up.
Lanny Davis owned up to his error. We need to see what lessons can be drawn, the other players in this melodrama.
Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and host of “MediaBuzz” (Sundays 11 p.m.). He is the author of “media madness: Donald Trump, the press, and The war for the truth.” You can follow him at @Howard Kurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz.