TV station that accused CNN of refusing to air positive border wall story does not back down

Local San Diego news station KUSI-TV said Saturday it is standing by its report alleging CNN "declined to hear" from them — after CNN previously requested local perspective about the border crisis — because the news station provided CNN with a perspective that did not fit the mainstream media narrative.

What happened?

The Associated Press reported Friday that KUSI had "backed off" its accusation that "CNN played politics." The story centered on comments from KUSI news director Steve Cohen.

"It's certainly plausible that they didn't want it for the viewpoint, or they just didn't want it. Both are plausible conclusions. I made one rather than the other," the AP reported Cohen saying.

The AP's story rapidly circulated online, generating widespread criticism of the TV station among mainstream media personalities.

At first @KUSInews "accused CNN of rejecting an appearance by one of its reporters for political reasons." But now the news director is conceding "he didn't really know why the network turned him down," the AP's @dbauder reports
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 11, 2019
Lots of people don't know how newsrooms work. Trump is exploiting that. Example: Last week my show team interviewed several border reporters from great local papers. Then we realized we didn't have time for the segment. These decisions happen every day for mundane reasons.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 11, 2019

However, according to KUSI and Cohen, the AP's assertion is completely false. In fact, KUSI is standing by its story, the news station announced Saturday.

"We are not backing away. The headline [from AP] is a fiction, for the issue was never raised," Cohen said in a statement. "The AP story is factual but the headline is fake news."

How did CNN respond?

Matt Dornic, CNN's VP of communications, said in response to Cohen's comments: "'Shocking,' thought no one. Your motives and the complete lack of factual support for your garbage assertion have already been disclosed. Why would anyone expect more from you? Carry on."

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