The NAACP said Thursday it was concerned with CNN's
erroneous report on Wednesday that law enforcement officials had a
"dark-skinned male" in custody in connection with the Boston Marathon
John King responded in a tweet Thursday that he was
responsible for reporting that description, but that he was no racist.
NAACP saw the problem as two-fold. The report turned out to
be wrong, but also that CNN used "an overly-broad, unhelpful and potentially
racially inflammatory categorization to describe the potential suspect,"
said NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous. "History teaches us that too
often people of color are unfairly targeted in the aftermath of acts of
terrorism," he said.
The group asked CNN and others to use caution and
"weigh the implications" of such characterizations.
CNN said it had reported the arrest based on multiple
sources. "CNN had three credible sources on both local and federal
levels," the CNN statement read. "Based on this information we
reported our findings. As soon as our sources came to us with new information
we adjusted our reporting."
In a tweet Thursday, CNN anchor/reporter John
King said: "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."
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.