Fox News anchor Shep Smith on Wednesday defended CNN after President-elect Donald Trump belittled one of the network’s journalists at a press conference over a controversial report.
“President-elect Trump today told CNN’s Jim Acosta that his organisation amounts to fake news,” Smith said.
Smith referred to CNN’s Tuesday report that top intelligence officials presented Trump with information that Russian operatives claimed they possessed compromising information about him. The information presented to Trump, CNN reported, was based on a 35-page dossier which BuzzFeed later published in full on its website.
“CNN’s exclusive reporting on the Russian matter was separate and distinctly different from the document dump executed by an online news property,” the Fox News journalist said.
“Though we at FOX News cannot confirm CNN’s report,” Smith continued, “it is our observation that it’s correspondents followed journalistic standards and that neither they nor any other journalists should be subjected to belittling and delegitimizing by the president-elect of the United States.”
For its part, CNN defended its own coverage in a statement on Thursday, distancing itself from BuzzFeed.
“CNN’s decision to publish carefully sourced reporting about the operations of our government is vastly different than BuzzFeed’s decision to publish unsubstantiated memos,” said a statement from the network. “The Trump team knows this. They are using BuzzFeed’s decision to deflect from CNN’s reporting, which has been matched by the other major news organisations.”
The statement continued: “We made it clear that we were not publishing any of the details of the 35-page document because we have not corroborated the report’s allegations,” the statement continued. “Given that members of the Trump transition team have so vocally criticised our reporting, we encourage them to identify, specifically, what they believe to be inaccurate.”
In a statement shared with its employees, BuzzFeed defended its decision to release the memo despite hesitation by other media outlets to publish the unverified claims.
“We stand with Ben on his decision to publish this newsworthy document, which was reported on by multiple news outlets and seen by high-level government officials including the president and president-elect,” cofounder and CEO Jonah Peretti wrote referring to Ben Smith, BuzzFeed’s editor in chief.
“As a result of this decision, we were criticised by the incoming administration,” Peretti continued. “We are not going to respond to these divisive comments, which put us in great company by the way — The New York Times, CNN, and The Washington Post have all been attacked. So has Meryl Streep and the cast of Hamilton, but we’d never compare ourselves to people that talented.”
“We are going to keep doing what we do best, which is deliver impactful journalism,” the BuzzFeed cofounder concluded.
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