Anyone who was trading Microsoft (MSFT) on Friday could be forgiven for screaming obscenities at their TV.
An incorrect report by CNBC around 10:50am temporarily smacked the stock. So influential was the mistake, in fact, that it temporarily whacked the whole NASDAQ.
We’re all human, and we all make mistakes. Normally, when a news organisation makes a mistake like this, it issues a brief apology, such as “We regret the error.”
Interestingly, CNBC did not issue such an apology on Friday. It also did not clearly acknowledge that it had made a mistake. Instead, the reporter, Jim Goldman, merely returned to the air to issue a “clarification.” Goldman then couched this “clarification” in language that suggested that, if there was any error, it wasn’t his: “Just so we all understand…”
Given the damage the report caused, we were surprised by this. We asked CNBC whether it planned to issue an apology. The answer was no. The network rep said, simply, “We corrected [the mistake] on air.”
Well, sort of. There is a difference between a “correction,” which acknowedges an error, and a “clarification,” which doesn’t. And Goldman’s “clarification” certainly didn’t acknowledge any error.
CNBC is humming almost all day long, and it’s live for much of it. Obviously, it is going to make mistakes. Given the impact these mistakes have, though, and given the esteem in which CNBC holds itself, is it really too much to ask the network to say clearly “we made a mistake”?
More to the point, is it really that hard to say, “sorry”?
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