The Washington Post corrected and removed large chunks of its own reporting on the anti-Trump Steele dossier on Friday, admitting it “could no longer stand by the accuracy” of those elements. But other liberal news organizations including ABC News, MSNBC and CNN haven’t followed the Post’s lead and erroneous reporting remains uncorrected.
The mainstream media used the always-unverified, now-discredited Steele dossier to paint former President Donald Trump as compromised by Russia.
“It’s one of the most egregious journalistic errors in modern history, and the media’s response to its own mistakes has so far been tepid,” Axios media reporter Sara Fischer wrote, adding that a “reckoning” is hitting news organizations after Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the Trump-Russia probe further discredited the already-shaky dossier by indicting Igor Danchenko.
Danchenko, a Russian national and sub-source for dossier author Christopher Steele, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to making false statements about the source of information that he provided to Steele.
“Outsized coverage of the unvetted document drove a media frenzy at the start of Donald Trump’s presidency that helped drive a narrative of collusion between former President Trump and Russia,” Fischer wrote.
Fox News Digital reached out to several news outlets following Danchenko’s indictment in an attempt to find out if reporting would be corrected or retracted, but none of them responded.
On Friday, the Washington Post became the first major news organization to correct the record. The paper altered two major stories, adding editor’s notes, and deleting sections of its reporting that identified Belarusian-American businessman Sergei Millian as a key source of the dossier.
The paper had inaccurately reported that Millian was “Source D,” an unnamed figure who passed scandalous tidbits to Steele. The Post’s bombshell correction came as other news outlets, including CNN and MSNBC, have been criticized for failing to adjust dossier-related reporting as its credibility crumbled.
Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi wrote the indictment suggests, “Danchenko may have gotten his information about the hotel encounter not from Millian but from a Democratic Party operative with long-standing ties to Hillary Clinton,” noting Clinton ally Charles Dolan, Jr. could be the unnamed operative.
“The newspaper’s executive editor, Sally Buzbee, said The Post could no longer stand by the accuracy of those elements of the story,” Farhi wrote.
ABC News reported Millian could have been the source on Jan. 30, 2017.
Brian Ross – who left ABC News in 2018 after reporting incorrectly on live television that fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn would testify that Trump had ordered him to make contact with Russians about foreign policy while Trump was still a candidate – penned the story alongside Matthew Mosk.
Ross and Mosk’s report is still available online and wasn’t updated by ABC News as of Monday morning, three days after the Post corrected its version.
ABC News was at it again on August 28, 2018 when Mosk and John Santucci matched the now-corrected Post report.
“According to the Post, later corroborated by sources interviewed by ABC News, Millian was the person identified only as ‘Source D,’” Mosk and Santucci wrote, noting that “Source D” fed Steele “key allegations contained in the infamous dossier of unverified claims that have beguiled the Trump presidency from its inception.”
ABC News did not update either story as of Monday morning. The Disney-owned network provided Fox News Digital with a link to a report from last week indicating there is “fresh doubt” on earlier claims Millian was a source for Steele when asked for comment.
ABC News did not immediately respond to a follow-up asking if previous reporting would be corrected.
On Nov. 16, 2017 MSNBC’s Ali Velshi repeated Washington Post’s now-corrected claim on TV as fact. MSNBC did not immediately respond when asked if Velshi would issue a correction. CNN’s Pamela Brown also repeated the Post’s claim on TV as fact that same day. CNN did not immediately respond when asked if Brown or the network would issue a correction.
CNN’s left-wing Brian Stelter failed to even acknowledge the Post’s massive correction on the Sunday edition of “Reliable Sources,” which is supposed to cover the media industry.
While ABC News, MSNBC and CNN have failed to match the Post’s corrections as of Monday morning, far-left website Mother Jones decided to add an editor’s note to its version.
“Earlier Mother Jones reporting noted that Sergei Millian was reportedly a source for the Steele dossier, as reported by the Washington Post in 2017. In 2021, the Post retracted part of its reporting on Millian and the dossier and said it ‘could no longer stand by the accuracy of’ that report. Content making reference to Millian has been appropriately updated,” Mother Jones wrote.
Fox News’ David Rutz contributed to this report.