ABC News: 'Terrible' we misreported congresswomen as dead

ABC News president Ben Sherwood says it’s “terrible” that his organization “briefly” misreported Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was dead after a gunman shot her in front of a grocery store.

Sherwood, who recently took the top job at the organization, was asked by a reporter at TCA press tour about false reports that Giffords had been killed. Here’s what he says:

“That’s just a… [long pause] … when I watched on Good Morning America as a close friend of the family described what the congresswoman’s husband experienced in that airplane … when he was subjected to that information … terrible … terrible that he was exposed to that.”

Continues Sherwood: “Here’s what happened at ABC News. Our mission is to get it right and accuracy is the most important thing. Unity of editorial voice is very important … for a brief moment, about 10 minutes, ABCNews.com put up a banner citing other reports that congresswoman had died. It did not go out on our airwaves… You’ve already seen the apologizes from one news organization … It’s a reminder that we have to get it right … I’m proud of how we handled that on the broadcast side.”

Comments (16 total) Add your comment
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  • cattyfan

    In their haste to report the story, they (as with so much of the main stream media) didn’t bother fact checking. That’s why they also reported the shooter is a “right-winger influenced by Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh.” ALL of that info is incorrect, yet ABC and their ilk continue to propagate falsehoods. Idiots.

    • Kermode

      Yeah, come back when it has been proven that that info is incorrect.

      • Reason

        Oh, c’mon, the man was obviously unbalanced no matter what his political bent happens to be.

      • cattyfan

        It already HAS been proven.

  • Svetlana

    Your spelling is horrible!

  • @Svetlana

    Well, that’s so helpful, Svetlana. Is that what you care about in this world?

  • Mark

    Hey guys, just leave ABC alone! They do the best that they can, and it’s not like you could do any better broadcasting live reports of a tragedy like this, so BACK OFF!

  • Liz

    ABC was not the only one that reported she had died. CNN and NPR also reported the same thing.

  • Barack Palin

    What’s terrible is that the left-wing media-the same one who urged us not to jump to conclusions after the Ft. Hood massacre about Muslim extremists-is exploiting the tragedy to further their aims and discrediting the Republican, sloandering Sarah Palin and just salivating at the chance to spread the left-wing hate. They just can’t stand that most Americans are rejecting the ruinous policies of B. Hussein and his ilk. By their slander they are the ones stirring the pot, and beyotches like Andrea Mitchell, Katie Couric and the like are only contributing to the poisonous atmospher with their slander and vicious bile. The irresponsibility is astounding-its no wonder the network news is iincreasingly irrelevant. Other than Fox News, journalism in America truly is dead.

    • rowan729

      Wow, calling female reporters-only the ones you consider liberal, I see-a nasty word is a wonderful way of getting your point across.

      Also, who in the heck is B. Hussein? Your very response is the perfect example of the type of hate speech that CAN influence tragedies like what happened in AZ.
      Unfortunately, with a large national tragedy like this, the media are too quick to put some sort of info up on screen, whether it’s correct or not, especially regarding fatalities. I will never forget a FOX correspondent shouting “Look, it’s a bloody student!” almost with glee on 4/20/99 as their cameras captured a poor student crawling out of the window. Just simply awful, all of it, from both sides. Notice I made my point without actually insulting anybody……that’s how we should be disagreeing in this country-without prejudice, hateful vocabulary and threats of or imagery inciting violence.

      • Ray

        Rowan729, you are so right! I recall that particularly in the case of Columbine numerous, numerous errors were verbally slopped onto the TV screen like shellac, only to be contradicted the next day. . . by other errors! As for “Barack Palin,” he lost whatever tiny soupcon of credibility he MIGHT have had when he said Fox News, the biggest liar of all media outlets, gives “real” journalism.

  • redfire25

    At least ABC is recognizing they made a mistake. I have yet to see the other mainstream media (looking at you CNN) identify their mistake. I still have CNN’s Breaking News email that says Giffords died. Just a shame really.

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