Around 1:30 this afternoon, CNN’s John King went on the air reporting from one of his sources that a suspect in the Boston blasts has been identified. Fox News’s Catherine Herridge reported the news moments later: “Fox confirming that the feds have an image which would suggest that a suspect at that second bombing site.” But on MSNBC, NBC’s longtime Justice correspondent Pete Williams broke in to Andrea Mitchell‘s show, to temper reports: “It bears repeating perhaps because of some reporting that’s going on about a suspect … we’re told they’ve identified a number of people in these pictures they’ve looked at that could be potentially folks they want to pursue… but to say they have a suspect is not correct at this point.”
That didn’t slow the reporting on CNN and Fox News. By 1:50pm, Wolf Blitzer, along with King, was reporting an arrest had been made. Fox News, too, reported an arrest. NBC News went so far as to produce a network special report, anchored by Brian Williams — which aired on MSNBC — with Pete Williams again reporting, “No arrest has been made.”
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Williams added, “It’s rather confusing at this point. Partly because of the nomenclature here. One person’s item of interest is another person’s suspect. I would take a step back and say whatever is going on, it is a promising development.”
> Update: At 2:21 on Fox News, Megyn Kelly reported: “This is the situation we find ourselves in, folks. We got different law enforcement officers telling us different things. Two said to (Foxnews.com) that an arrest has been made. And now two are telling us no arrest has been made.”
> Update: At 2:28 on CNN, former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes contradicted CNN’s reporting: “I have actually three separate sources, but two that are very highly placed and close to the investigation that have just told me that there has been no arrest, and, in fact, a suspect has not been identified by name yet, that they have — they’re looking for someone, but don’t have anybody in custody yet and don’t have an identification.”
> Update: John King on CNN at 2:46: “Part of this reflects on us, part of it also reflects on people you talk to, reliable sources, and Fran Townsend is one of our finest people, Boston law enforcement source saying we got it. When you have people who have been reliable sources if they’re ahead of themselves, we need to circle with them. We need to figure this out ourselves.”
> More: A CNN spokesperson tells HuffPost’s Michael Calderone: “CNN had three credible sources on both local and federal levels. Based on this information we reported our findings. As soon as our sources came to us with new information we adjusted our reporting.”
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