CNN’s John King admits ‘dark-skinned male’ gaffe damaged credibility

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

CNN anchor John King became the subject of widespread criticism after he inaccurately reported that a Boston bombing suspect was in custody and that they were a “dark-skinned male.”

Even before his reporting was proven false, King was ridiculed for his choice of words by numerous figures including the Rev. Al Sharpton and Daily Show host Jon Stewart.

The National Association of Black Journalists even issued a statement condemning him:

There have been various reports identifying a potential suspect as “a dark-skinned individual”. [sic] This terminology is not only offensive, but also offers an incomplete picture of relevant facts about the potential person of interest’s identity. When conveying information for the public good, and which can help law enforcement with the help of a vigilant public to keep the country safe, it’s important that such facts be put into proper context.

NABJ in no way encourages censorship but does encourage news organizations to be responsible when reporting about race, to report on race only when relevant and a vital part of a story. Ultimately this helps to avoid mischaracterizations which might encourage potential bias or discrimination against a person or a group of people based on race or ethnicity.

Now King is speaking out about what he calls “bad information” that hurt his “credibility.”

“I’ve been at this for nearly 30 years,” he said during an interview with Washington, D.C. radio station WTOP. “I’ve covered a couple wars and a lot of breaking news and a lot of cops-and-robbers situations. I’ve got a pretty good track record, but when you do something like this it’s embarrassing.”

While King has taken responsibility for his error he has also reiterated that he is not racist.