Take Notes! CNN Just Showed Us The Right Way To Respond To A Trump Tirade (TWEETS, VIDEO)

Since his unexpected–and tainted–victory in the presidential election, Donald Trump has shown that he can strike fear into many a heart with just one tweet or Facebook post. But on Wednesday, CNN gave the world an object lesson on how to stare down Trump.

For most of the last 24 hours, the political world has been abuzz with reports that the nation’s intelligence chiefs told Trump that Russia had mounted a full-court press to compromise him for most of the campaign season. Trump responded in typical fashion–with a blizzard of petulant tweets.

Trump appeared to be particularly enraged at CNN, which broke the story on Tuesday night. Angry enough, in fact, that Trump tried to shout down CNN’s Jim Acosta when he tried to ask a question at his first press conference as president-elect, accusing his network of being “fake news.” For good measure, Trump tried to have Acosta thrown out.

Well, CNN isn’t backing down. Far from it. On Wednesday afternoon, CNN threw down the gauntlet to Trump. CNN contends that its story was based on “carefully sourced reporting about the operations of our government”–something Trump almost certainly knows.

The other object of Trump’s ire seems to be BuzzFeed, which published a dossier Trump supposedly received at that meeting. However, CNN has not had the chance to vet the allegations in that memo, and opted not to publish it. Indeed, even BuzzFeed concedes that the 35-page memo contains errors. However, CNN is “fully confident” in its own reporting detailing the broad lines of that briefing, defending it as “the core of what the First Amendment protects”–the people’s right to know.

CNN then called Trump’s bluff in a way that hasn’t been seen lately from a mainstream media outlet.

“Given that members of the Trump transition team have so vocally criticized our reporting, we encourage them to identify, specifically, what they believe to be inaccurate.”

Cliff Notes version: “Put up or shut up, Mr. President-Elect.”

CNN actually started its pushback right after the press conference ended, when Jake Tapper defiantly answered Trump’s accusations. Watch here.

Tapper noted that incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer accused both CNN and BuzzFeed of publishing the memo. Tapper pointed out that CNN never provided “even one detail” about that memo in its initial report. It only delved into the details once on-air–and then to suggest that Trump attorney Michael Cohen may not have really gone to Prague.

What CNN did say, Tapper noted, was that both President Obama and President-elect Trump had been briefed about the hacking, and provided “a two-page synopsis” of the dossier, stating that the Kremlin claimed it had compromising information about Trump and had been in touch with the Trump team during the campaign. CNN stressed that while the nation’s intelligence agencies hadn’t had the chance to investigate the allegations made in that dossier, they believed that the “asset” who provided this information was credible enough that Obama and Trump needed to know about it.

Tapper added that before CNN broke this story, he and his team waited “more than half a day” for a comment from the Trump campaign–to no avail. Well, he and the world are still waiting. Tapper’s statement aired at about 12:15 pm Eastern on Wednesday. CNN’s formal, written response to Trump went live at 1:01 pm Eastern. As I write this at around 5:45 pm Eastern, no one from the Trump camp has even tried to refute CNN’s reporting.

Indeed, the only response from anyone on the transition team comes from Trump information minister Kellyanne Conway–and even that response falls short.

However, that story doesn’t dispute that Trump got the two-page synopsis of the information. Swing and a miss, Kellyanne. Try again.

The only conclusion you can draw from what is the equivalent of an eternity of silence in today’s Twitter-influenced political news world is that Trump and friends know CNN has them busted. Well, I take that back. You can draw another conclusion. By loudly telling the world that it will not bow down to Trump, CNN has given us a textbook lesson on how to stand up to a president-elect who thinks he can bully people into submission with just 140 characters.

(featured image courtesy Charles Atkeison, available under a Creative Commons BY-SA license)

Darrell is a 30-something graduate of the University of North Carolina who considers himself a journalist of the old school. An attempt to turn him into a member of the religious right in college only succeeded in turning him into the religious right's worst nightmare--a charismatic Christian who is an unapologetic liberal. His desire to stand up for those who have been scared into silence only increased when he survived an abusive three-year marriage. You may know him on Daily Kos as Christian Dem in NC. Follow him on Twitter @DarrellLucus or connect with him on Facebook. Click here to buy Darrell a Mello Yello.