John King on CNN Error: "It's Embarrassing"

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 23 2013 2:04 PM

John King on CNN Boston Bombing Error: "It's Embarrassing"

Journalist John King attends Comedy Central's night of too many stars

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

How does CNN's John King, a Boston native, feel about wrongly reporting last Wednesday that police had arrested a suspect in the marathon bombing when in fact it would be another two days before the case cracked wide open? It's a "double kick in the head," he said in a radio interview today.

In case you've forgotten, CNN was the first of a handful of media outlets to report last Wednesday, citing anonymous sources, that a suspect had been identified and arrested. That story, of course, turned out to be false. And while many news sources, including the Associated Press, were caught up in the "fact" chaos, John King was the first and the most visible media personality to fill airtime with the inaccurate information.


So on Tuesday, King addressed the error, telling WTOP that:

"I've been at this for nearly 30 years ... I've covered a couple wars and a lot of breaking news and a lot of cops-and-robbers situations. I've got a pretty good track record, but when you do something like this it's embarrassing.
"The bigger part, beyond being personally embarrassing, is it's tough for your viewers, who you want to trust you," he continued. "So the one thing you do have to do is look in the camera and say, 'We were wrong,' and try to explain why we were wrong. In this case we had two reputable sources—one of mine, one of a colleague's of mine—who have been reliable in the past, who simply had bad information. We had two— you never do that with one—and we went with it, and we had to correct it."

The CNN correspondent added, "But it's my city, too, so it's sort of a double kick-in-the-head to me." Listen to the full interview at WTOP, or check out the highlights below, via Politico:

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.



Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?