CNN's Self Inflicted Wound

FTVLive has been reporting about CNN's colossal mistakes made during the coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing story.

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We pointed out that it could take years for CNN to recover.

It looks like the NY Times David Carr is seeing the same thing.

Carr writes that when I woke up on Friday morning and found out there was a manhunt in the Boston area for the remaining suspect in Monday’s bombing at the marathon, I turned on CNN.

It’s a common impulse, although less common than it used to be. The news audience has been chopped up into ideological camps, and CNN’s middle way has been clobbered in the ratings. The legacy networks’ news divisions can still flex powerful muscles on big stories, and Twitter and other real-time social media sites have seduced a whole new cohort of news consumers.

But the biggest damage to CNN has been self-inflicted — never more so than in June, when in a rush to be first, it came running out of the Supreme Court saying that President Obama’s health care law had been overturned. It was a hugely embarrassing error.

Still, when big news breaks, we instinctively look to CNN. We want CNN to be good, to be worthy of its moment. That impulse took a beating last week. On Wednesday at 1:45 p.m., the correspondent John King reported that a suspect had been arrested. It was a big scoop that turned out to be false.

Mr. King, a good reporter in possession of a bad set of facts, was joined by The Associated Press, Fox News, The Boston Globe and others, but the stumble could not have come at a worse time for CNN. When viewers arrived in droves — the audience tripled to 1.05 million, from 365,000 the week before, according to Nielsen ratings supplied by Horizon Media — CNN failed in its core mission.

It was not the worst mistake of the week — The New York Post all but fingered two innocent men in a front-page picture — but it was a signature error for a live news channel.

CNN has been in the middle of a rehabilitation ever since Jeff Zucker was appointed at the end of last year to run CNN Worldwide. Until now, the defining story in the Zucker era had been a doomed cruise ship that lost power and was towed to port, where its beleaguered passengers dispersed. This week, CNN seemed a lot like that ship.

It’s clear after a busy week that Mr. Zucker can hire all the talent he wants, broaden the scope of their coverage and freshen the look of the joint, but if the network continues to whiff on the big stories, all of that will be for naught. Two people I spoke to at the network, which featured a lot of good work and tireless reporting when it wasn’t getting it wrong, called the error “devastating.”

Read more from the NY Times