A media firestorm erupted today over CNN’s “arrest” confusion (regarding unverified information reported by the network on a suspect in the Boston Marathon attack supposedly taken into custody), and the FBI has responded with a statement to the media.
In the early afternoon, the CNN “arrest” confusion began when (with the help of Twitter) reports began circulating that the network’s John King had confirmed a suspect in custody.
The CNN arrest report continued to be bandied about as a strange back and forth between that station and NBC over the status of the investigation and reports of a suspect in custody occurred in real time on social media. CNN seemed to stick with the arrest report for a decent while, and NBC continued to report that the arrest update had not been confirmed.
After the CNN arrest confusion cleared up and the network withdrew the claim, the FBI released a statement that seemed to be targeted not only at CNN, but perhaps the New York Post — an outlet that reported erroneously that a “Saudi” suspect was in custody the day prior, and that 12 had died in the blasts.
In the FBI statement after the CNN arrest confusion, the Bureau pled with the media not to spread unconfirmed information:
“Contrary to widespread reporting, no arrest has been made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack. Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate.”
The FBI continued:
“Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting.”
As of this evening, no arrests have reportedly been made following the Boston Marathon attack.