The List: 5 Recent CNN Fails, In Chronological Order
Jon Stewart famously called CNN “The Human Centipede of News” and “The Most Busted Name in News” after the channel broke inaccurate information in the Boston Marathon Bombing aftermath. When the top 24-hour news channel erroneously identified where the fatal shooting of three people took place in Eastern Pennsylvania earlier this week, it certainly didn’t help their reputation as the Network That Confirmed Wolf (and no, not longtime CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer).
Here are 5 recent CNN fails, in chronological order:
CNN’s ticker incorrectly identified Ross, Pa., as the location of the fatal shooting of three people August 5 when the shooting actually took place in Ross Township, Pennsylvania. According to Ross Detective Brian Kohlhepp, the incorrect graphic remained unfixed even an hour after he talked to the network and set the record straight.
Whatever your views on George Zimmerman and the Trayvon Martin case, CNN erred when it accidentally aired Zimmerman’s confidential information, including his home address and telephone and social security numbers, on live TV July 1. The prosecuting lawyer was showing a copy of the “narrative report” when the court video feed then zoomed in on Zimmerman’s personal information. CNN later released a statement that read, “Routinely the evidence is first given to the Court Clerk for redaction, and that didn’t happen in this instance,” which is a very official way of pointing the finger at someone else.
Veteran CNN anchor John King broke the news that a “Boston law enforcement source” told him a “dark-skinned male” was arrested in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings on April 17. The Associated Press, FOX News and other CNN correspondents reported and repeated the information for an hour before King came back, head down, and confirmed that no arrests had been made. The mistake, which King later called “embarrassing,” inspired Stewart to claim that CNN reporters removed the middleman to check sources and then “shit in their own mouths” like characters in the infamous Human Centipede movies.
Bucks County Courier-Times columnist J.D. Mullane spoke for millions April 12 when he tweeted a picture he took of the empty rows intended for the media at the Kermit Gosnell trial. When CNN Radio correspondent Steve Kastenbaum tweeted at the Pennsylvania journalist to confirm the accuracy of the photo, Mullane replied, “Why doesn’t CNN go to Courtroom 304 at the Gosnell murder trial [in] Philly and see” and later reported that CNN cited a small staff as the reason why the network couldn’t send a reporter. Three days later, the network was busy mishandling its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, but not before Mullane also poked fun at CNN by mentioning the “wall-to-wall coverage of the ‘Poop Cruise’” when the Carnival liner was stuck at sea.
It was a big news day on May 26, 2010, when CNN scooped the story of a 103-year-old black woman named Gladys Flamer from Coatesville, Pa., who still drives a car. The network celebrated by playing a verse from Coolio‘s “Fantastic Voyage” featuring multiple repetitions of the N-bomb. Embarrassingly, CNN correspondent Kyra Phillips had joyfully exclaimed, “Ms. Flamer, this one’s for you!” before the song played, but later apologized by saying, “It was a terrible mistake. And we’re working very hard to make up for it.” Apparently, the chorus from the same song was supposed to play, and of course it did not have Riley Cooper’s favorite in it. CNN was lucky the woman didn’t drive down to CNN headquarters and give them a piece of her mind.
Funny how often CNN bungles things in Pa.