CBS staffers turn on Norah O’Donnell over sloppy report that FBI did not take Trump’s passports

CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell is reportedly facing some internal backlash for a poorly sourced, since-debunked tweet she posted Monday about former President Donald Trump.

“NEW: According to a DOJ official, the FBI is NOT in possession of former President Trump’s passports. Trump had accused the FBI of stealing his three passports during the search of his Mar-a-Lago home,” the tweet, which still remains up, reads.


Note that it boasts over 40,000 likes.

Here’s the problem: It later became clear that the FBI had, in fact, taken the former president’s passports during the Aug. 8th raid of his Mar-a-Lago property.

“Passports belonging to former President Donald Trump that were taken by the FBI during the search conducted at his South Florida residence last week have been returned to the former president, a law enforcement source confirmed to CBS News,” O’Donnell’s colleagues at CBS News reported Tuesday.

“The source said the passports were given back to Trump after they were discovered by a ‘filter team,’ a group of federal investigators who screen the materials seized during the execution of a search warrant for privileged or extraneous information.””

The FBI obviously took the passports by accident and then immediately returned them. Still, they did take them, meaning O’Donnell’s tweet is false.

But besides being false, the tweet is also sloppy, according to her colleagues. How so? Note that she cited only one “DOJ official.” This reportedly violates CBS News’ two-source rule.

“CBS insiders explained that generally, any news reported by the news division must be confirmed by at least two people or else it is in violation of the network’s standards & practices rules. A story can be sourced to a single company spokesperson, but in O’Donnell’s case, it is unclear if the DOJ official is indeed a press rep or an anonymous source,” the New York Post reported Tuesday.

“This is an embarrassment for CBS that the face of your network can’t even make a second call to a Justice Department rep. It’s journalism 101,” one of the insiders complained to the outlet.

In a statement to the Post, an official CBS News rep sought to defend O’Donnell.

“Donald Trump publicly alleged that his passports were ‘stolen’ and in the hands of the FBI. As part of the normal reporting process, our reporters inquired with the DOJ about whether they had Donald Trump’s passports,” the rep said.

“They replied that they did not. Our reporting reflected that; it was true then and it is true now that the FBI was not in possession of his passports at the time. And as the tweet thread makes clear, any items that were not contained in the warrant would be returned.”

The Post’s insider source wasn’t impressed.

“It’s still bad journalism. She didn’t ask if the passports were ever in their possession. She didn’t say ‘no longer in possession,'” the source said.

“She’s desperate. It doesn’t look good. If you’re going to attack the POTUS and call him a liar you shouldn’t tweet the thing.”

It’s presumably even a worse form of journalism to double down on the false reporting by refusing to delete the tweet in case.

The tweet also raises questions about Twitter’s biases. While the social media network is quick to censor conservative content, even when it’s 100 percent accurate, it seems to have no interest in applying the same standard to the ruling class establishment elite.

So-called “journalists” like O’Donnell are, ultimately, members of the ruling class, and as members of the ruling class, it appears they get to flagrantly violate the rules as they see fit.

It’s a microcosm of a much larger problem best exemplified by what happened to former President Donald Trump. His home was raided and his passports seized because he’d been in possession of classified documents.

Yet when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was caught with classified information on her unsecured digital devices, she was treated to a slap on the wrist, with certainly no raids being conducted on her home.

Similarly, it appears O’Donnell will face no tangible consequences for telling blatant lies and — worse — doubling down on them in the face of the actual truth …


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Vivek Saxena


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