CNN’s John Avlon On Fox’s ‘Dubious’ Iran Report Picked Up By Trump: ‘A Discredited News Organization’

The president used an unsubstantiated claim by an Iranian hardliner to level attacks against his predecessor.

President Donald Trump was VERY busy on Twitter Tuesday morning, commenting on a number of topics and subjects at near breakneck speed. At one point, he curiously went after former President Barack Obama, claiming that his predecessor granted American citizenship to 2500 Iranians — including government officials — during the Iran Deal negotiation.

It wouldn’t take long to discover where Trump got that information. As he’s done on a daily basis since entering office, the president tweeted out something he’d heard on Fox News. In this case, he relied on a report that centered on an unsubstantiated claim made by an Iranian hardliner. CNN’s Oliver Darcy dug into the original article and found the following:

The article, written by Chris Irvine, a Fox News senior editor, cited an Iranian news agency that cited an Iranian newspaper that quoted the single Iranian cleric, who said the Obama administration provided citizenship to 2,500 unidentified Iranians during nuclear deal negotiations.

The article itself quoted, toward the end of the story, the network’s own commentator, former Obama State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, saying, “This sounds like totally made up BS.” The story said the Department of Homeland Security and State Department declined to comment, and that a representative for former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson could not be reached.

Prior to the Fox News article, the claim had not received any noticeable attention from the US media.

During a CNN discussion on the president’s Fox News-inspired tweet, CNN analyst and former editor in chief of The Daily Beast John Avlon tore into both the president and the cable news network. After CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter and anchor Alisyn Camerota both described it as a “conspiracy theory” while criticizing Fox News’ reporting, Avlon made the following observation:

“The obvious reality here is that this is a man who has access to a daily intelligence briefing. He has access to the best information in the world in real time. And yet he prefers to go with confirmation bias conspiracy theories he picks up from partisan cable TV.

Which itself isn’t doing its job. This is Iranian local politics and a discredited news organization that has fallen for Onion stories before. The fact that the president’s first impulse is to parrot this rather than going to the intelligence agencies is a real problem, not a manufactured crisis.”

Watch the clip above, via CNN.

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Justin Baragona is the founder and publisher of Contemptor. He was previously the Cable News Correspondent for Mediaite and prior to starting Contemptor, he worked on the editorial staff of PoliticusUSA. During that time, he had his work quoted by USA Today and BBC News, among others. Justin began his published career as a political writer for 411Mania. He resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife and pets.
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