President Donald Trump took the occasion to gloat on Twitter in the wake of the resignation of three CNN staffers after a story linking one of his supporters to a Russian bank was retracted, according to the Hill. “Wow, CNN had to retract a big story on "Russia," with 3 employees forced to resign. What about all the other phony stories they do? Fake News!” The tweet came out the same day that an Operation Veritas video was released of CNN Supervising Producer John Bonifield admitting that the story about Russian collusion with the Trump administration is “b---s---.”

Fake news story blows up at CNN

The story in question was produced by CNN’s investigative unit and concerned alleged ties between a Russian investment fund and a number of Trump associates.

The story also claimed that Congress was investigating the links. The clear implication was that further proof had been found of secret collusion between Team Trump and the Russians.

However, the CNN report quickly fell apart when one of the people named in it, Anthony Scaramucci, denied allegations made and claimed that he had done nothing wrong, CNN took the story down and, after an internal investigation, retracted it. The cable network argued that the fake news story was the result of a breakdown in normal editorial controls, particularly fact checking. Thomas Frank, the writer of the story, Eric Lichtblau, one of the editors in the CNN investigative unit that ran the story, and Lex Haris, who supervised the investigative unit have all been obliged to resign as a result.

Why did editorial controls break down at CNN?

The question arises, why did editorial controls break down at the cable network. Some hint of this came in the form of a Project Veritas video that has CNN Supervising Producer John Bonifield admitting that the Russia story is “b---s---.” The video also reveals that the cable network seems to have an obsession with the idea that Team Trump is in a conspiracy with the Russian government.

The story has taken on the aspects of a conspiracy theory. No evidence exists that Trump is Putin’s Manchurian Candidate. CNN persists in digging for proof that he is.

When the directive comes down from on high that Russia is the most important story in the world, CNN reporters and producers are inevitably pushed to produce stories that fit that narrative. Hence, instances of fake news that has rocked the network’s investigative unit. No evidence exists that the cable news organization is moving to fix the underlining problem, however.