CNN Blasts Benghazi Chairman's Criticism Of Whistleblower Reporting: “Chairman Gowdy Is Wrong”

Committee Also Argues CNN “Should Have Reached Out To The Committee To Help Determine Which Questions To Ask”

The House Select Committee on Benghazi, led by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), is criticizing CNN's coverage of a former committee staffer's claim that the panel's work has become a “partisan investigation” that is “hyper focus[ed] on Hillary Clinton.”  

The New York Times reported on October 10 that Bradley Podliska, a former investigator for Republican members of the committee who claims he was fired unlawfully, has accused the committee of focusing “primarily on the role of the State Department and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton” instead of conducting a comprehensive investigation into the September 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans.  

CNN covered Podliska's claims in an October 11 interview on State of the Union, and in an October 10 article has since updated its article to note that Gowdy has “criticized CNN's reporting of Podliska's claims” and complained that the network did not contact the Benghazi committee prior to airing Podliska's “sensationalistic and fabulist claim.” CNN refuted Gowdy's statement, saying, “Chairman Gowdy is wrong.” From the article: 

Gowdy also criticized CNN's reporting of Podliska's claims. 

“Had CNN contacted the Committee regarding its interview with this staffer before it rushed to air his sensationalistic and fabulist claims, it could have fully questioned him about his unsubstantiated claims. But that is the difference between journalism as practiced by CNN, and the fact-centric investigation being conducted by this Committee,” Gowdy said in the statement. 

CNN refuted those allegations in a statement Sunday. 

“We categorically deny Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy's statement about CNN,” a network spokesperson said. “We reached out to the committee for a response prior to publishing or broadcasting, which the committee provided. That response was included in our reporting. In addition, Chairman Gowdy was invited to discuss this on CNN and declined. Chairman Gowdy is wrong.” 

A committee spokesperson also criticized CNN's coverage in a statement to Politico that argued CNN should have reached out to the committee for guidance on what to ask Podliska in the interview:

[A] spokesperson for the Select Committee on Benghazi told POLITICO that CNN should have done more to vet Podliska in the first place and should have reached out to the committee to help determine which questions to ask.