Fusion GPS, the research firm that prepared the infamous Trump dossier at the behest of the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, has been described as unscrupulous dirt diggers for hire.
But you’d never know that if you only watched CNN. The network’s treatment of Fusion in its reporting is being called into question because of the close, personal ties between the company and CNN’s justice reporter Evan Perez.
CNN’s reporting on the dossier, led by justice correspondent Evan Perez, has been favorable to the firm, Fusion GPS, and hyped the dossier’s credibility. Left out of Perez’s reporting, which has relied largely on unnamed sources, is his personal closeness to Fusion GPS’ operatives. Fusion has repeatedly been described in Senate testimonies as a smear-for-hire operation that manufactures misleading or false media narratives for its clients.
Glenn Simpson, the Fusion co-founder most often associated with the dossier, is used to working on stories with Perez. As reporters at the Journal, Perez and Simpson regularlyco-authored stories on national security.
Another Fusion founder, Tom Catan, worked as a reporter for the Journal at the same time as Perez and Simpson. The third Fusion co-founder, Peter Fritsch, worked above Perez and Simpson as the senior national security editor.
Simpson and Fritsch left the WSJ in 2011 to launch Fusion. Perez jumped from the paper to CNN in 2013. Another longtime Journal reporter, Neil King, left the paper to join Fusion in December 2016.
DC posted several personal Facebook photos showing Perez and the Fusion founders. But as the Caller points out, “At no point in Perez’s reporting did he disclose his close ties to the Fusion GPS operatives.”
CNN’s coverage of the dossier has been relatively soft. CNN anchor Jake Tapper, usually known for his aggressive coverage, gave Fusion a pass while reporting on the story Wednesday evening.
During a segment on his show, he asserted that “some of the details [of the dossier] have been proven accurate.” But the newsman failed to mention reporting he did back in January that called the dossier’s credibility into question.
On Jan. 10, the day that BuzzFeed published the dossier, Tapper cited a government source who told him that a key claim in the dossier about Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, was false. The dossier alleged that Cohen traveled to Prague last August to meet with Kremlin operatives. But Tapper reported that government officials believed that a different Michael Cohen had actually traveled to the Czech Republic. Tapper has not acknowledge that reporting since that initial segment.
CNN did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment about Perez’s ties to Fusion’s partners.
Any reporter — or network — with an ounce of integrity would disclose such personal relationships with the subject of a story right at the top.
But “integrity” and “CNN” are not words that generally follow one another.