CNN Updates Its Reporting on the Text Messages in the Fani Willis Case to Credit Megyn After Public Shaming

On Wednesday’s edition of The Megyn Kelly Show, Megyn and attorney Phil Holloway exclusively revealed 31 pages of text messages between Ashleigh Merchant and Terrence Bradley related to the affair between Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade.

The texts shed light on details Bradley repeatedly said he could not recall when he was on the stand on Tuesday in a hearing on the motion to disqualify Willis and Wade from the election interference case against former President Donald Trump and 18 other co-defendants. Merchant is representing defendant Michael Roman and was responsible for filing the motion in January. Bradley, meanwhile, is Wade’s one-time friend, law partner, and divorce attorney.

Given that the texts showed Bradley was very forthcoming with an array of information ranging from when the affair began (he said it was earlier than Willis and Wade testified) to who else might be privy to those details (he helped Merchant track down witness Robin Yeartie), their release undermined the media narrative that Bradley was not the star witness he had been billed as. Perhaps that is also why several outlets were not quick to acknowledge the source of the information. 

When a news organization or reporter is the first to obtain or source information, it is journalism 101 to credit whoever broke the news. That custom was apparently lost on CNN and Atlantic Journal-Constitution when it came to covering these text messages.

Megyn Shames CNN

Late Tuesday, CNN published an article with the headline “Exclusive: Texts reveal shadowy role witness played in defense attorney’s push to disqualify Willis from Trump case.” The only problem? It wasn’t exclusive.

The report instead relied on the texts Megyn and Holloway published several hours earlier and that was not mentioned anywhere in the piece.

​Megyn wasted no time calling CNN out on X. “Hey @cnn – we were the first to get [and] report these texts – at least 8 hours before you on the ⁦@MegynKellyShow [and] on X⁩,” she wrote. “It is customary for an outlet late to the news to credit the outlet that first breaks it. But that’s okay, no one is watching you.”

But CNN was not alone. AJC also failed to credit where the text messages came from. “@cnn [and] @ajc we await your update to your late evening reports. You can cite us as first with the texts in the #FaniWillis case,” Megyn tweeted. “Not only did you not have an ‘exclusive,’ it took you all day to match our reporting.”

CNN Updates the Record…

By Thursday morning, CNN had taken down the original story that was billed as “exclusive” and replaced it with an error message. “Uh-oh! It could be you, or it could be us, but there’s no page here,” the page read.

The article has been replaced with a piece that removes any mention of an exclusive and credits the source of the text messages. “Megyn Kelly first reported the texts Wednesday afternoon on her Sirius XM show,” the article reads.

For that, Megyn was willing to give credit where it was due. “I have to say, CNN, good for you,” she said. “You did the right thing in the end. It only took the public shaming and 14 hours. We’ll take what we can get.”

AJC Does Not

As of the time Megyn went to air on Thursday, AJC had still not updated the attribution in its article about the texts and she did not hesitate to call them out again. “AJC, I’ve cited you repeatedly,” she noted. “When you break news that I could go down to the courthouse and pull the brief myself on so I don’t have to cite you, I still cite you. Why do I do that? Because it’s a professional courtesy in journalism.”

It remains to be seen if the outlet will make the amendment. “I don’t like you any more than you like me,” Megyn concluded. “But it’s professional courtesy, and you need to update the reporting because I deserve the same.”

You can check out Megyn’s full analysis by tuning in to episode 734 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.