CNN issued a response after President-elect Donald Trump criticized the news outlet during a press conference on Wednesday—where he told a reporter, “You are fake news.”
The network attempted to differentiate itself from BuzzFeed News, which published unsubstantiated documents about the Russian government having damning information on Trump. BuzzFeed was heavily criticized for its post. The New York Times editor, Dean Baquet, criticized BuzzFeed in a roundabout way, saying that the Times “felt we’re not in the business of publishing things we can’t stand by.”
In its statement on Wednesday afternoon, CNN wrote, “We are fully confident in our reporting. It represents the core of what the First Amendment protects, informing the people of the inner workings of their government; in this case, briefing materials prepared for President Obama and President-elect Trump last week.”
“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 added, referring to the unverified memo that BuzzFeed published in full.
Trump, in a press conference, told CNN’s Jim Acosta: “Your organization is terrible.”
“You are attacking us,” Acosta shouted, while asking, “Can you give us a question?” Trump replied with, “No. Not you,” while giving his ear to another reporter as Acosta continued to interrupt. Trump responded with “don’t be rude.”
When Acosta kept pushing, Trump replied: “You are fake news.”
On Tuesday night, after the BuzzFeed report came out, Trump tweeted: “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”
FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
CNN also claimed that Trump’s team knows that it published a different account than BuzzFeed’s.
“Given that members of the Trump transition team have so vocally criticized our reporting, we encourage them to identify, specifically, what they believe to be inaccurate,” CNN said.
While on the air, CNN reporter Jake Tapper defended the network’s reporting.
“At the beginning of the press conference, Sean Spicer, who’s going to be the White House [press] secretary, suggested that both BuzzFeed and CNN published this dossier full of uncorroborated rumors. That’s not true. That’s false. CNN never did that,” he said. “That conflation—whether because Sean Spicer misunderstood or some other reason—that’s not true.”