When he wasn't taking the time to undercut one of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore's alleged sexual assault victims at a Florida rally, President Donald Trump was took aim at his favorite target: CNN. The attacks followed the major mistake the network made on a Friday report about Donald Trump Jr., Wikileaks and the ongoing Trump-Russia probe.
"They apologized! Oh, thank you CNN," a glib Trump exclaimed at his rally in Pensacola, Florida, on Friday night. "Thank you so much. You should have been apologizing for the last two years."
The president's attacks also poured into Saturday morning, as he said the network's mistakes were "vicious," and "purposeful."
CNN’S slogan is CNN, THE MOST TRUSTED NAME IN NEWS. Everyone knows this is not true, that this could, in fact, be a fraud on the American Public. There are many outlets that are far more trusted than Fake News CNN. Their slogan should be CNN, THE LEAST TRUSTED NAME IN NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2017
Fake News CNN made a vicious and purposeful mistake yesterday. They were caught red handed, just like lonely Brian Ross at ABC News (who should be immediately fired for his “mistake”). Watch to see if @CNN fires those responsible, or was it just gross incompetence? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2017
CNN issued a correction after publishing an explosive report on Friday morning that originally said Trump, his oldest son and other Trump campaign officials received an email from a sender named Michael J. Erickson which included a decryption key and "hacked Wikileaks documents."
However, the email in question was dated Sep. 14, 2016, and not Sep. 4, as the story originally reported. It's a significant change because Wikileaks first began publishing the documents on Sep. 13, meaning the documents were already made public when the email was actually sent.
"CNN's initial reporting of the date on an email sent to members of the Trump campaign about Wikileaks documents, which was confirmed by two sources to CNN, was incorrect," CNN said in a statement. "We have updated our story to include the correct date, and present the proper context for the timing of email."
The news comes as there have been recent blunders in reporting from mainstream media outlets in the Trump-Russia probe. Most notably was ABC's Brian Ross, who had to correct another bombshell report that originally said then-candidate Trump directed Michael Flynn to make contacts with the Russians during the campaign.
It was later revealed that Trump pressed Flynn about reaching out to Russian officials during the transition process, after he had won the election. Ross was suspended by ABC.
CNN said it would not take disciplinary actions against their reporters because "the reporters followed CNN's editorial standards process, which requires review and approval of the use of anonymous sources. CNN says it does not believe that the sources intended to deceive the reporters," according to the network.
But perhaps the largest irony in Trump framing a journalistic error as a "vicious" and "purposeful mistake" against him, is that he said nothing about the glaringly misleading Fox News story that painted Beverly Young Nelson, an alleged Moore victim, as a liar.
Fox News later corrected their headline and deleted the coinciding tweet which initially asserted Nelson had forged the inscription written by Moore in her yearbook. Trump instead used it to his advantage to discredit her during his rally.