Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Arrest reports premature

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ATLANTA -- Several major media outlets appeared to jump the gun Wednesday afternoon in reporting an arrest in the Boston Marathon bombings.

Atlanta-based CNN was the first to report a possible suspect at 12:30 p.m.

CNN sent out a "breaking news alert" saying, "Investigators believe they have identified a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, a source who has been briefed on the investigation told CNN's John King." Twenty minutes later, the network said an arrest had been made, citing multiple unnamed sources. Fox News and the Boston Globe followed suit.

The Associated Press, which has a reputation for being cautious, quickly posted on Twitter: "BREAKING: Law enforcement official: Boston Marathon bomb suspect in custody, expected in federal court." It said its information came from "a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation." But several media outlets -- including the New York Times, CBS News and NBC News -- held firm, saying no arrest had been made.

Within an hour, CNN began backtracking, as did other media outlets. The Boston police officially tweeted a denial.

 

-- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 18, 2013 A11

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