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Media Fail: Arrest or Not, No One Got Anything Right [Video]

COULD it have been any worse for the media yesterday? They made a horrific situation worse. One outlet after another blew the call. Pros taking emails as confirmation that a suspect had been apprehended, just so they could beat Twitter to the news. The FBI warned the media that if they can’t report it right to just not report anything at all.

Many were suckered.

via Mediaite

via Mediaite

via Mediaite

via Mediaite

via Mediaite

via Mediaite

via Mediaite

via Mediaite

via Mediaite

via Mediaite

The worst criticism was saved for CNN, which made an absolutely mess of the coverage, then compounded it with an hour of vamping until the bosses figured out what to do about it. John King made the gaffe of the day by reporting that the suspect was a “dark-skinned male,” making him look like the dumbest white man on TV.

From Mediaite:

Wednesday afternoon has seen a flurry of contradictory reports about the status of an alleged suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, but for the past hour or so, CNN has been going all-in with sources that said an arrest had already been made. A few minutes ago, though, CNN’s chyron went from “Sources: Arrest In Boston Bombing” to “Defcon: Oh, Crap,” as CNN contributor Tom Fuentes came on the air to tell Anderson Cooper that two “highly-placed sources” say there has been no arrest, followed by Fran Townsend reporting that “two administration officials” have confirmed that there has been no arrest.

Jon Stewart renamed CNN as “the most busted name in news.”

“CNN had three credible sources on both local and federal levels,” the spokesperson said. “Based on this information we reported our findings. As soon as our sources came to us with new information we adjusted our reporting.” [CNN spokesman, via Michael Calderone]

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3 Responses to Media Fail: Arrest or Not, No One Got Anything Right [Video]

  1. Joyce Arnold April 18, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    I realize this is on a different media scale, but following the awful “reporting” yesterday, and even earlier, and comparing that to the coverage of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, TX, has been impossible for me to avoid. It certainly isn’t without problems, but officials have been firm in refusing to speculate about the number of casualties, beyond the 5 to 15 number. They keep repeating that they won’t release a number until they have it confirmed. And interestingly, most of the media is respecting that. Maybe in part that’s because I’ve primarily followed local media.

    Anyway, it would be nice to think MSM would learn from the disastrous coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings. But I seriously doubt it will, at least not for more than a day or so …

    • Taylor Marsh April 18, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

      I would never take Fox News at face value. Their “reporting” on Benghazi ruined their reputation forever.

      As for CNN, they used to the standard. Jeff Zucker should send out an edict on how to handle on air information via social media & backing it up with proof.

      Media get seduced easily on being first these days. The number of “sources” alleging to have information quickly becomes “confirmation.”

      One call to the FBI by a senior producer would have saved CNN & Fox News, but not John King, who should have stepped off camera to call the FBI himself instead of playing cable crier.

      If media doesn’t learn in the immediate aftermath it will never happen, though they’ll forget it quickly, I have little doubt.

      • Cujo359 April 18, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

        Zucker’s career reads like that of an entertainer, not a journalist. The closest he appears to have come to journalism is a couple of stints covering entertainment.

        Hire an entertainer to run your news network, and I think you shouldn’t be surprised to find what you end up with is more entertainment than news.

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