CNN’s Chris Cillizza is coming under criticism from the Republican National Committee for media bias.
The RNC is specifically taking issue with a Cillizza column in which he writes that “no one” is saying a meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the margins of a Group of 20 summit dinner was “private or secret.”
RNC research director Mike Reed pointed out transcripts showing that two CNN anchors, Brooke Baldwin and Kate Bolduan, referred to the meeting as “secret” on the air three times on Wednesday, hours before Cillizza’s column was published.
He also included links to other reports describing a “secret” meeting in an email sent to reporters labeled “Chris Cillizza, call your office.”
“If you are looking for an example of media bias, look no further than the full-blown media hysteria over the last 36 hours surrounding the supposed ‘secret’ meeting between President Trump and Putin,” Reed wrote.
“After President Trump responded to the media referring to the conversation as 'secret,' CNN’s Chris Cillizza bizarrely tried to criticize the President for an apparent 'bait and switch.' Is Chris not watching his own network?” Reed concluded.
In his column for CNN, Cillizza described Trump’s tweet as “a classic bit of Trump misdirection.”
“No media outlet reported anything about a ‘secret dinner,’” he wrote. “No one is making the dinner look ‘sinister.’ And, no one is suggesting that the media was unaware that the dinner was taking place.
“That is not the story. The story is that the president of the United States had a somewhat lengthy sidebar conversation with the president of Russia. With no other U.S. officials present. And that we didn't know about it until Ian Bremmer reported on it Monday night.”
Bremmer, the president of the Eurasia Group, a global consulting firm, was the first to report the Trump-Putin conversation.
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The criticism from the RNC is notable given the White House’s continuing feud with CNN. The party committee frequently defends Trump and is the arm of the Republican Party that is closest to the president. As a result, Reed’s criticism of Cillizza will be seen in some quarters as having the White House’s endorsement.
Reed also included links to reports of former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaWhite House debates vaccines for air travel Five questions and answers about the debt ceiling fight Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward MORE talking with world leaders in “pull-asides or private conversations at summits” that he said did not get nearly as much media attention, which he said underlined a larger bias against Trump.
Trump called the reports of a secret meeting with Putin at the G-20 dinner “sick” and “fake news” in two tweets on the matter on Wednesday.
Fake News story of secret dinner with Putin is "sick." All G 20 leaders, and spouses, were invited by the Chancellor of Germany. Press knew!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2017
The Fake News is becoming more and more dishonest! Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2017