Networks Instruct Staffers Not To Report Identity Of Whistleblower

DOWNTOWN, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, UNITED STATES - 2015/11/14: CNN World Headquarters. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)
DOWNTOWN, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, UNITED STATES - 2015/11/14: CNN World Headquarters. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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November 6, 2019 5:00 p.m.
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As President Trump ramps up his calls to unmask the identity of the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry, news organizations are directing their staffers to do the opposite.

That includes Fox News, a network with a number of hosts and commentators who support Trump and which Trump reportedly watches regularly.

According to a CNN Business report Wednesday, which cites people familiar with the matter, Fox News issued guidance to its hosts and personalities over the last few days to not identify the whistleblower. The reported Fox News guidance comes amid Fox News host Sean Hannity denying that the State Department asked him to tone down his attacks against former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who alleged in her congressional testimony that she was aware of internal efforts surrounding the effort.

CNN added that mainstream news organizations have refrained from identifying the whistleblower and that CNN itself instructed staff to not repeat any reporting that alleges the whistleblower’s identity.

And it’s not just Fox and CNN. In a report on Donald Trump Jr.’s Wednesday tweet containing the alleged name of the whistleblower, NBC News wrote that it is “not reporting the name of the whistleblower as long as that person wishes to remain anonymous, due to security and safety concerns, and will not publish the names of anyone purportedly identified by outside parties as the whistleblower.” Politico’s Michael Calderone flagged the NBC guidance.

The move by news organizations to not report the alleged name of the whistleblower comes as the whistleblower’s lawyers refuse to confirm or deny any names floated by Trump allies and conservative media.

On Monday evening, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) urged the media to “print” the alleged name of the whistleblower during a Trump campaign rally in Kentucky.

TPM has reached out to representatives at Fox News, CNN and NBC News for comment and will update this post if we hear back.

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