CNNMoney Executive Editor Rich Barbieri has sent an internal memo to all staff instructing them that all Russia-related stories must be cleared by him or another high-ranking executive, following a Breitbart News investigation which forced the retraction of a fake news story claiming the U.S. Senate was investigating an associate of President Donald Trump for alleged ties to Russia.
BuzzFeed’s Deputy News Director Jon Passantino tweeted a screenshot of a leaked internal memo from Barbieri to CNN staff instructing them that all future Russia-related stories must be cleared by him or the VP of Premium Content Video, Jason Farkas. The email, which was sent at 11:21 AM on Saturday, reads, “No one should publish any content involving Russia without coming to me and Jason [Farkas].” The memo continues, “This applied to social, video, editorial, and MoneyStream. No exceptions. I will lay out a workflow Monday.”
In wake of story retraction, CNNMoney exec editor sends memo to staff mandating all “Russia-related content” must be cleared by him or VP pic.twitter.com/2Y6QMZj1h5
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) June 25, 2017
CNN issued a retraction for their now-deleted story this week following an investigation by Breitbart News, saying in a statement released Friday night, “On June 22, 2017, CNN.com published a story connecting Anthony Scaramucci with investigations into the Russian Direct Investment Fund. That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled. CNN apologizes to Mr. Scaramucci.” The statement was published on CNN’s verified Twitter account:
An editor’s note from CNN https://t.co/5bHxUVnHHt pic.twitter.com/W3IjT5FPN8
— CNN (@CNN) June 24, 2017
CNN’s piece was based entirely on information gained from one “anonymous source.” The article suggested shadowy connections between President Trump’s inner circle and a Russian investment fund:
The source said the Senate intelligence committee is investigating the Russian fund in connection with its examination of discussions between White House adviser Jared Kushner and the head of a prominent Russian bank. The bank, Vnesheconombank, or VEB, oversees the fund, which has ties to several Trump advisers. Both the bank and the fund have been covered since 2014 by sanctions restricting U.S. business dealings.
During an investigation into the story, a source close to Senate GOP leadership confirmed to Breitbart News that the allegations made in the CNN article were entirely false and politically motivated by Democrats. Breitbart’s GOP source stated:
This is nothing besides Democrats trying to frustrate the efforts of President Trump’s administration while Elizabeth Warren and those of her ilk spend their days collecting taxpayer funded paychecks while they do nothing but stand in the way of the progress of the American agenda and are responsible for this nonsense. They should put their names on it if they want to waste taxpayer money on it.
The full investigation by Breitbart News can be found here.