CNN’s Jaw-Droppingly Awful Hour Of Boston Bombing Coverage

The most trusted name in news strikes again…

At 1:45 p.m., CNN’s John King, citing a Boston law enforcement source, announces something he probably regrets now:

“I’ve just been told that an arrest has been made. We know they have identified a suspect based on surveillance video and they were then taking the further steps in the investigation. Just in to us and, again, Fran Townsend has a second source, and this is from one of her sources that an arrest has been made in this investigation. A dramatic shift.”

Yes, John King, dramatic indeed. Now that CNN has everyone’s attention, Fran Townsend backs up King’s Boston source with a federal source claiming an arrest had been made. Fran also adds this unconfirmed hunch:

CNN analyst Juliette Kayyem adds bit of foreshadowing at 2:03…

Chris Cuomo can’t resist bringing up an important point at 2:04 p.m…

“Important point: We’re hearing about one individual right now, one arrest, no understanding even though this vague description of brown skin, whether foreign or domestic, whether they’re part of an organization or lone wolf, we don’t know any of that, right, John?”

Cuomo then, reading from his phone, cites the AP…

Then, around 2:06, John King starts to change his tune while seeming to throw Fran Townsend’s tune under the bus…

“Fran has a federal source saying an arrest has been made. I have a Boston law enforcement source saying that operation was under way, heading toward an arrest.”

Our heroes begin to realize that they might not have any idea what’s really going on…

As the CNN chyron changes to a simple BREAKING NEWS, Kayyem adds this gem:

“I shouldn’t say this on TV, but this is a good time when TV unfolds, maybe faster, there is a difference between identification, which everyone can confirm now, right? Everyone is saying it and whether there is an arrest. And the arrest is significant because the 5:00 p.m. presser, which is now confirmed, is going to tell us either we have the guy, or it is going to say we need your help finding the guy. And that’s significant for the public, for our sense of safety here. So this may be very different in about an hour if we learn there has been no arrest. But the good news is that there is an identification of an individual.”

Cuomo at 2:21 p.m…

At 2:24 p.m., the CNN chyron starts to throw the sources under the bus…

CUOMO: “Just take half a step back. This has accelerated incredibly quickly. Even by John, who is ahead on the reporting, within the span of an hour and a half, we went from them saying on videotape, they identified somebody putting down a bag, right, they said, well, we know the individual is a brown-skinned male. That’s what they said. A lot of people get offended: Why are you describing him like that? Within an hour and a half, we get word he’s in custody.”

At 2:27 p.m., Tom Fuentes delivers some bad news to our heroes…

“I have actually three separate sources, but two that are very highly placed and close to the investigation that have just told me that there has been no arrest, and, in fact, a suspect has not been identified by name yet, that they have — they’re looking for someone, but don’t have anybody in custody yet and don’t have an identification.”


Dramatic chyron change at 2:29 p.m.:

Fran Townsend, via her sources, starts to walk things back at 2:31 p.m.:

Kayyem at 2:32 p.m.:

Anderson Cooper with a friendly reminder at 2:34 p.m…

“It is just a reminder, and a reminder that we have been — that we have gotten time and time again instances like this initial reports so often are wrong.”

Our heroes start to accept that this may have been ANOTHER awful moment in CNN history…

Then, Joe Johns confirms that, yes, this has been ANOTHER awful moment in CNN history:

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Senior Writer
Contact Dorsey Shaw at
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