CNN’s ‘King’ of all errors

The news media has been a hot topic of discussion in wake of the Boston Marathon bombings as a result of the reckless behavior by select outlets. At the top of that list of course are CNN and the New York Post, while the Associated Press and Fox News are one level beneath.

In a time where citizen journalism and photography is gaining notoriety thanks to social networking and websites like Reddit, at the very least, we can count on the one sure notion that the mainstream news outlets are held accountable if they screw up.

Or not…

A New York Times story yesterday shows that in the target advertising demographic, CNN had more viewers than Fox News Channel during Friday’s coverage of the lockdown in Watertown, MA and the apprehension of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, aka subject number two.

Despite the embarrassing blunder made last Wednesday by CNN’s John King, the habit of television viewers automatically turning on CNN in the wake of breaking news remains unchanged. To put this in further perspective, the 1.34 million viewers was the best number CNN had for any nonpolitical event since April 2003, when the network was covering the Iraq War.

So much for consequences, at least in the short-term. However, some might suggest that the network’s low ratings on normal days are already consequence enough.

Odds & Ends

  • Whether or not John King is under any heat at CNN will probably never be known. According to a Washington Post story from last week, CNN had no plans to “bench” King. He was instead reassigned to cover something far less important (my words) — interviewing former President George W. Bush just ahead of the opening of his presidential library.
  • A separate piece from David Carr’s Media Equation column in the New York Times yesterday brilliantly describes the current news media environment, plotting the likely how’s and why’s someone like John King could commit such an embarrassing error. An absolute must-read.
  • When news hit late Friday afternoon that federal authorities had Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev cornered, it was a given that WBBM-AM 780 (and its simulcast on WCFS-FM 105.9) would provide wall-to-wall coverage courtesy of CBS News. WLS-AM 890 was all over it as well following Roe Conn’s afternoon show, courtesy of ABC News. After 8pm when turning on WLS to hear more about the capture, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the voice of Lauren Cohn (weekday co-host, 9am-11am), considering moments earlier WLS news anchor Mary Frances Bragiel mistakenly announced that Sean Hannity was coming up next.
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