The specter of a $100 million libel suit scared CNN into retracting a poorly reported story that slimed an ally of President Trump’s — and forcing out the staffers responsible for it, Anti-Elite has learned.
Anthony Scaramucci came amid federal scrutiny of corporate parent Time Warner’s pending purchase by AT&T — and the widespread belief among media execs that CNN President Jeff Zucker can’t survive a merger.
CNN immediately caved after Scaramucci, a financier and frequent network guest, cried foul and threatened to take legal action, sources said Tuesday
Scaramucci got an unusual public apology but still hired a top Manhattan lawyer to put further pressure on CNN and “look after [his] interests in this matter,” one source said
“Little” Zucker big joke at CNN where he’s hated.
Sources also said the three journalists responsible for the retracted story — reporter Tom Frank, editor Eric Lichtblau and Lex Haris, who headed the CNN Investigates unit — were urged to resign.
“They called them in and said they’d pay out their contracts, but they should leave immediately,” one source said.
Zucker was afraid of facing a high-profile suit from Scaramucci while the US Justice Department weighs the proposed $85.4 billion media merger.
Meanwhile, a CNN insider said staffers are furious at “having lost the moral high ground because of this story.” Sources said Zucker tried to rally his staff during a Tuesday morning conference call.
“Zucker stressed that this issue was a ‘lapse in editorial standards’ and said it was a lesson to all reporters and editors to continue to strive for strong, accurate reporting,” a source said.