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November 12, 2019

Reporters and politicos went wild this weekend with shocking news: Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified in the House’s Ukraine investigation against President Trump, has been fired from his position at the National Security Council.

The only problem is: None of this is true about Vindman losing his job, possibly in retaliation for offering damaging testimony of the president’s efforts to press Ukraine into investigating 2020 Democratic front-runner Joe Biden. Vindman still works for the National Security Council and is expected to continue to do so until his detail ends in 2020, his attorney said this weekend.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham confirmed separately in a statement to the Washington Examiner that Vindman “is still there.”

But you would not know that from a casual read-through of news headlines and tweets promoted this weekend by both the Left and the Right.

This particularly stupid episode can be traced back to CBS News’ Face the Nation, which tweeted this weekend, “VINDMAN OUT AT NSC: After testifying on the Hill, NSA O’Brien says Alexander Vindman will be removed from the National Security Council.”

  This false assertion, which is still live, comes from the moment when national security adviser Robert O’Brien was asked by Face the Nation whether Vindman would keep his job even after testifying against the president.

“Everyone who’s detailed at the NSC, people are going,” responded O’Brien, “back to their own departments, and we’ll bring in new folks.”

This quote, paired with CBS’ erroneous framing in its subsequent tweet, was enough to set off not just the regular reporters, politicos, and pundits, but also some voices in MAGA land.

“Wow wow wow,” MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace tweeted in response to CBS’ bogus claim. Wallace’s note is still live and has been shared by more than 7,400 social media users.

 Talking Points Memo editor-in-chief Josh Marshall declared in a note that has been shared by nearly 700 social media users, “Vindman booted from NSC.”

Right-wing radio commentator Mark Levin also stated on Facebook: “Vindman gets the boot. About time.” Levin’s note is still live and has been shared by more than 9,300 social media users.

“W-O-W,” said the Washington Post’s easily impressed Jonathan Capehart.

Of course, none of this is true about Vindman being forced out, according to Vindman’s own attorney.

“Vindman is still detailed to NSC. We are not aware of any changes in his status. Obviously any retaliatory action against LTC Vindman on a day when we honor our military heroes would be reprehensible,” Michael Volkov said, stressing that his client “still has a job — his detail ends in July 2020.”

But other than that, this is some solid work by CBS News.

Between this Vindman flub, CBS agreeing to fire a staffer after someone leaked a video revealing ABC News sat on the Jeffrey Epstein story, and ABC airing footage of a Kentucky gun range and claiming it showed a war crime in Syria enabled by the White House, it has been a rough couple of weeks for America’s major news networks.