Thursday, April 18, 2013

Twitterstorm Over Media Chaos in Boston, Then FBI Smackdown

 photo Social-Media-Confusion.png

Twitter Heads Exploded this afternoon when various media outlets such as AP, CNN and Fox reported an "imminent arrest" in the Boston Marathon Bombing. Actually no suspect was in custody. To make matters worse, John King on CNN kept insisting that police were searching for a "dark-skinned male" as if that was part of the crime, while CBS was reporting the search for a caucasion light-skinned subject. Derp.

From Business Insider
According to a source at CNN, the network was the first to report that a suspect had been identified. Anchor John King sent in a report around 1 p.m. that a source "briefed" on the investigation had told King a positive identification had been made. CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist approved that report, according to the source.

According to the source, who was reviewing internal email logs, Fran Townsend was the first at the network to say that an arrest had been made.
"As I think everyone knows, we really f—ed up. No way around it," the source said.
The source said that the network's email network went quiet for a 15-minute period shortly after the retraction — "so people [were] either being more cautious or getting yelled at."

Townsend's report came around the same time as other outlets, including the Associated Press and the Boston Globe, also reported an arrest, so it is not clear whether CNN was the first to make the mistake.

Special FBI Smackdown
Contrary to widespread reporting, no arrest has been made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack. Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate. Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting.


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