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Bungled SCOTUS Reporting by CNN & FOX Highlights Dangers of Rush to be First

This morning, President Obama got the news via FOX and CNN that the Supreme Court had struck down the individual mandate in his health care legislation. According to ABC News, the president remained calm, but gave White House counsel Kathy Ruemmler a hug when she alerted him just a couple minutes later that the networks had it all wrong.

It was an embarrassing gaffe for CNN and FOX News. The erroneous reporting has been widely reported on by other media outlets, and mocked by journalism professionals. Associated Press editor David Scott felt the need to issue a memo to reporters ordering them to “Please, immediately, stop taunting on social networks about CNN and others’ SCOTUS ruling mistake and the AP getting it right. That’s not the impression we want to reflect as an organization.”

While inaccuracy is something of a tradition at FOX News, CNN staffers tell Buzzfeed that the newsroom is up in arms over the error, which was not only reported live on the air, but tweeted and sent out in a blast email. The rage and frustration expressed by the CNN staffers is understandable, as this is the sort of high-profile screw-up that erodes viewer’s trust.

NRCC regional press secretary Daniel Scarpinato echoed sentiments across the industry with his tweet: “There’s one rule in journalism that shouldn’t change with technology: It’s better to be right than to be first.”

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