CNN has stringently denied that Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim paid the global news broadcaster to do an interview early this month.
“The story about CNN accepting payment from anyone for Anwar Ibrahim to appear on 'Connect the World' is clearly fabricated,” said a CNN spokesperson, who is based in Hong Kong where the network's Asia headquarters are located.
“It is disturbing that no effort was made to contact us and independently verify these groundless allegations before they were subsequently reported as fact.”
Malay-language daily Utusan Malaysia had last Friday kicked off the controversy with its July 9 report headlined 'Anwar alleged to have paid CNN'.
The report referred to Trevino Strategies and Media Inc president Joshua Trevino, who wrote in a US-based news portal The New Ledger alleging that Anwar hired people with strong media contacts, particularly in CNN, to convince Jewish lobbyists that he is not anti-Israel.
Trevino had lamented that the CNN's 'Connector of the Day' interview on July 2 was “tame” in questioning Anwar's anti-Zionist rhetoric.
Following the Utusan report, a number of Umno leaders attacked Anwar over the alleged “paid” interview.
In an immediate reaction, Anwar said the denial by CNN was proof that Umno leaders were peddling lies to tarnish his image.
“The denial not only exposes the lies by right-wing extremists media organisation the New Ledger, but also exposes the plot by Utusan Malaysia, which is Umno's mouthpiece, to slandar me,” said Anwar.
He said that the denial showed that there was no effort by Utusan Malaysia to verify their report with CNN, adding that such instances was not surprising.
Anwar also slammed Utusan Malaysia for basing their report on solely an article by blogger Elaine Supkis, whom he mockingly said was “apparently a famous blogger”, and another by Joshua Trevino without verifying the facts.
Laporan 'Anwar bayar CNN' palsu, baca sini.
CNN dan Anwar patut saman Utusan. Tapi aku pikiaq Anwar tak guna saman Utusan kerana sudah tentu Anwar tak boleh menang punya dalam makamah kangroo 1Malaysia.
Cakap pasai bayaq menteri2 UMNO termasuk presidennya suka bayaq untuk apa saja, sama ada bayaq orang untuk beramai2 saksikan pak menteri bagi ucapan,bayaq untuk beli undi dan tak lupa bayaq syarikat Yahudi APCO untuk membolehkan Pak Jib bersalaman dengan Presiden Obama.
Pasai Utusan pula, orang tak hairan kerana 1 Malaysia tahu Utusan hanya menyiarkan berita2 meloya saja......