Credit CNN for self-auditing: On this morning’s “New Day,” co-host Michaela Pereira interviewed two law enforcement experts who expressed strong doubts about the authenticity of a purported audiotape of the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. Former LAPD cop David Klinger, when asked about the tape, said, “I’ve told your producers that for all I know this is something that one of Howard Stern’s punk people have been doing…I don’t have a high degree of confidence in it…I look at this and my first inclination is that someone is trying to punk CNN.”
Then came CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes: “When I heard this yesterday, I thought the exact same thing — it’s a hoax.”
As noted yesterday in this space, the credibility of the tape is in large part tethered to a St. Louis-area attorney who vouches for its authenticity and the reliability of the person who recorded it. Lopa Blumenthal of Blumenthal & Blumenthal in Hazelwood, Mo., says she stumbled into knowledge of the recording via a “former client” who is the roommate of the recorder.
Yesterday the Erik Wemple Blog asked CNN about its vetting of the tape and received this response: “[W]e interviewed the caller’s attorney off camera and she answered key questions that gave us confidence to put her on the air live with Don [Lemon]. And we did confirm the caller lived close enough to the shooting to have heard the shots.”
As Blumenthal told us yesterday, the person behind the recording, who has remained unidentified, is embarrassed about his involvement in the whole thing. Above the sound of the shots in the tape, he can be heard saying this to someone whom Blumenthal identifies only as a “girl”: “You are pretty. You’re so fine, just going over some of your videos. How could I forget?”
It all sounds terribly awkward and strained.