John King: Mistakes Last Week Were ‘Embarrassing’

By Alex Weprin 

CNN’s John King appeared on Washington DC talk radio station WTOP this morning, and the subject of his reporting last week was a big part of the conversation.

King, among other reporters at other outlets, reported that Boston police had a suspect in custody. A half hour later, as other outlets (notably NBC’s Pete Williams) contradicted that report, King and CNN contributor Fran Townsend began to walk it back.

In the WTOP interview, as transcribed by Politico’s Dylan Byers, King said the error was “embarrassing”:

“The bigger part, beyond being personally embarrassing, is it’s tough for your viewers, who you want to trust you,” he continued. “So the one thing you do have to do is look in the camera and say, ‘We were wrong,’ and try to explain why we were wrong. In this case we had two reputable sources — one of mine, one of a colleague’s of mine — who have been reliable in the past, who simply had bad information. We had two — you never do that with one — and we went with it, and we had to correct it.”

It was also personal:

“As I said, it’s a shot to you personally, it’s a shot to your credibility. I think the best way to deal with it is to look people in the eye and say, ‘We made a mistake, here’s how we made the mistake,’ and then move on. Then, hopefully, people will look at the bulk of your reporting in that situation and find it to be quite good, he said. “But it’s my city, too, so it’s sort of a double kick-in-the-head to me.”