NBC Corrects Report of Attackers' Death, Capture

NBC had to back off a report Wednesday evening that one suspect in the Paris terrorist attack had been killed and two others were in custody.

At press time, French police were reportedly searching for two of three suspects after the third, and youngest, had turned himself in, according to multiple national news outlets.

But earlier in the evening, NBC had reported the killing and capture, citing two senior counterrorism officials who were not identified in the report. In fact, the story link in Google still said "Paris Attack Suspect Dead, Two in Custody - NBC News" although the link was to a story saying their status was no longer clear.

Several news outlets picked up the NBC story of the alleged killing and capture, as well as some NBC affiliates who aired the story on their local newscasts.

"NBC News issued an earlier report based on intelligence from two consistently reliable U.S. counterterrorism officials in different government agencies," said an NBC spokesperson. "As soon as it became evident that our sources doubted their information, we immediately updated our reporting across all platforms and continue to do so as this fast-moving story unfolds."

A source said NBC updated all the feeds of Nightly News.

There was clearly some confusion about the status of the attackers earlier in the day. Bloomberg, for example, had reported that French authorities had declined to confirm or deny the arrest of the suspects.

John Eggerton

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.