Multiple major news outlets issued corrections on their reports that former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani was briefed by the FBI that he was the target of a Russian disinformation campaign, CNN reports.
The New York Times, Washington Post, and NBC News all reported after the FBI raid on Giuliani’s home and office last week that the FBI had given the former New York City mayor a briefing warning that he was the target of a Russian disinformation campaign. The outlets also reported that Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson was briefed as well, which he confirmed but downplayed.
On Saturday, all three outlets published major corrections revealing that Giuliani and One American News Network, which was also mentioned in the reports, did not receive a defensive briefing from the FBI.
"An earlier version of this story, published Thursday, incorrectly reported that One America News was warned by the FBI that it was the target of a Russian influence operation," The Post said in its correction. "That version also said the FBI had provided a similar warning to Rudolph W. Giuliani, which he has since disputed. This version has been corrected to remove assertions that OAN and Giuliani received the warnings.”
"An earlier version of this article misstated whether Rudolph W. Giuliani received a formal warning from the F.B.I. about Russian disinformation," The Times said in its correction. "Mr. Giuliani did not receive such a so-called defensive briefing."
NBC News said in its correction that the report "was based on a source familiar with the matter, but a second source now says the briefing was only prepared for Giuliani and not delivered to him, in part over concerns it might complicate the criminal investigation of Giuliani."
The network said that "as a result" the "premise and headline" of its story were "changed to reflect the corrected information."
The outlets came under fire from journalists after the retractions, which CNN’s Brian Stelter called a “major black eye.”
“The new story is that FBI planned to warn Rudy and OAN they might be used as Russian puppets, but they didn’t actually deliver the warning,” he said on Sunday, warning that “a bogus report of this magnitude allows bad faith actors” to lump media outlets that try to get accurate information with those that do not.
CNN’s Oliver Darcy said that while many outlets use anonymous sourcing, it can be prone to human error.
“In this case, that appears to be what has happened with all of these news organizations,” he said. “The bottom line is there are safeguards in place, unfortunately, human error is still at play and news organizations sometimes do get burned like this.”