Photo: ABC screencap
For the third time in a month, the network has made a big reporting error (as noted by Media Decoder and others).After news of director Tony Scott‘s death yesterday, ABC News reported the late Scott had inoperable brain cancer, according to a close source. Soon outlets from The Huffington Post to People followed suit on the misreport citing ABC’s initial report.
After TMZ, Deadline, and others reported Scott’s family had no knowledge of cancer, ABCNews revised its original piece with yesterday’s story now linking to “Tony Scott Brain Cancer Report Appears in Doubt.“
The family of director Tony Scott, who died Sunday after jumping off a Los Angeles bridge, was not aware Scott had cancer, Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter told ABC News station KABC in Los Angeles.
ABC News was unable to reach Scott’s family to confirm the assistant chief coroner’s statement.
ABC News had reported the director of films such as “Top Gun,” “Days of Thunder” and “Crimson Tide” had inoperable brain cancer, citing a source close to Scott.
Not good news for ABC’s “Good Morning America” which has aired the inaccuracies. ABC’s morning show recently took the lead over rival NBC’s “The Today Show,” after the ousting of Ann Curry from ‘Today.’ ABC reclaimed its ratings lead after Olympics coverage has ended on the tails of an exclusive interview with Robert Pattinson.
ABC also had two big missteps while covering the Colorado shooting in Aurora last month.
Initially Brian Ross suggested there may have been a link between alleged shooter, James Holmes, and the Tea Party. This claim came off of a vague Jim Holmes’ page found on the Colorado tea party site.
“An earlier report that I had was incorrect that he was connected with the Tea Party in fact that’s a different Jim Holmes,” he said. “He was not connected to the Tea Party and what we do know about him is he is a 24 year old white male who went to Colorado for a PHD.”
The third big error came when “ABC News” reported that suspect James Holmes’ mother, Arlene acknowledged her son was likely the alleged culprit telling them, “You have the right person.”
Soon afterward, Lisa J. Damiani, the Holmes’ family attorney, contacted the news outlet to find out if there was a recording of the conversation taking place between Holmes’ mother, Arlene, and “ABC News” producer, Matthew Mosk.
An hour later, Damiani held a news conference, reading Arlene Holmes’ statement that suggested the news organisation took her quote out of context. Holmes said she knew nothing about the shooting at the time and that her reference to “the right person” was to herself, not her son.
“I was awakened by a call from a reporter by ABC on July 20 about 5:45 in the morning. I did not know anything about a shooting in Aurora at that time,” Holmes said in a statement this afternoon, read to the national press by attorney Lisa Damiani. “He asked if I was Arlene Holmes and if my son was James Holmes who lives in Aurora, Colorado. I answered yes, you have the right person. I was referring to myself.“
In response, ABC News stood behind producer Mosk saying nothing was taken out of context.
Despite “ABC News'” mistakes in the past month, its not just them getting it wrong.
June 28 saw a giant example of how media got a story wrong.
When the ObamaCare ruling came out, both CNN and Fox misreported the verdict and we too briefly had contradicting stories on the ruling.
Photo: CNN.com / screencap
While CNN apologized saying it “regrets that it didn’t wait to report out the full and complete opinion regarding the mandate,” Fox stood its ground.
Michael Clemente, Fox executive vice president of news and editorial, issued a statement saying, “We gave our viewers the news as it happened … Fox reported the facts, as they came in.”
Rather than learn from our mistakes, and be more careful in the future, recent errors in reporting won’t be anomalies in the foreseeable future, at least not in the cutthroat age of journalism where the pressure to get a story first appears to take more and more precedence over getting it right.
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