On Wednesday, CNN reporter John King reported that a suspect had been arrested in the Boston Marathon bombing. Roughly an hour later (an hour filled with CNN head's talking about the arrest), it was revealed that King had jumped on the story much too quickly and was in fact wrong.
To say that the media jumped on his error is an understatement - rightfully so. We are in such a rush to get "exclusives" today that vetting of stories and checking for accuracy seems to have fallen by the wayside.
King took to Twitter yesterday to defend himself and his reporting.
"Source of that description was a senior government official. And I asked, are you sure? But I'm responsible. What I am not is racist," he said.
What led to that last part was what King said Wednesday.
"I want to be very careful about this because people get very sensitive when you say these things. I was told by one of these sources, who is a law enforcement official, that this was a dark-skinned male," he reported.
People have reacted very negatively to that bit of news, with Jon Stewart and Al Sharpton among King's critics.
"The fact that this information was false is only part of the problem," said NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous about King's reporting. "Our concern is that CNN used an overly-broad, unhelpful and potentially racially inflammatory categorization to describe the potential suspect. History teaches us that too often people of color are unfairly targeted in the aftermath of acts of terrorism."
Is this criticism right? Is it fair? Or does King deserve a break?