How CNN Got It Wrong

If you’re obsessed with the details of how CNN blew its coverage of the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, SCOTUS Blog has a 7000 word minute by minute recap. It captures the frenzy of reporters trying speed-read the syllabus of the Court’s decision (the summary that the Supreme Court often includes in a ruling) and determine what the decision actually was.

For all the mockery that CNN has received for initially announcing the mandate was overturned, SCOTUSblog’s recap makes clear that the network was wrong for about five minutes. Further, in contrast to Fox, which made the same mistake, CNN experienced more embarrassment because it had such an excellent job of integrating television, Internet and social media for reporting. When Fox erred on the air, it wasn’t as well-linked with its website or Twitter so it was less noticed.

The recap with its second by second accounting of how media outlets reported the news in the first fifteen minutes after the Court’s decision can be a little tedious. But it does give an interesting window inside what it is actually like reporting breaking news for a television network.

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Ben Jacobs

Ben Jacobs is a journalist living in New York. He is a former reporter for Newsweek/The Daily Beast and contributor to the Boston Globe editorial page. Follow him on Twitter @bencjacobs.