A clear loser today was the media.
Jim Comey said unequivocally that a memorable New York Times front pager from Feb. 15 — "Trump Aides Had Contact With Russian Intelligence " — was wrong.
- "[I]n the main, it was not true," Comey said during his captivating Capitol Hill testimony. "And those of us who actually know what's going on are not talking about it. And we don't call the press to say, hey, you got that thing wrong about this sensitive topic. We just have to leave it there."
- The article's lead: "Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials."
- NYT tweet on the issue: "We are looking into James Comey's statements, and we will report back with more information as soon as we can."
- On the other hand, Comey said another Times scoop — reporting that Comey had written an in-the-moment memo saying Trump had asked him to shut down the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn — had been spoon-fed to the paper through a friend.
CNN had to backtrack from an article originally headlined "Comey expected to refute Trump," with this embarrassing correction:
- "The article and headline have been corrected to reflect that Comey does not directly dispute that Trump was told multiple times he was not under investigation in his prepared testimony released after this story was published."
Be smart: CNN's lapse, and the charge against The New York Times, provide ammunition for Trump partisans to shout "Fake news!" in an effort to discredit worthy reporting.