When big news breaks, a common impulse is to turn to CNN, but the network suffers from self-inflicted damage.
...So what is the real damage of a midweek stumble in a very complicated story? When the story was breaking on Friday, CNN had its biggest nonelection rating in 10 years. People at CNN said that they got significant blowback from sources, but Mr. Zucker seemed fine with the overall effort, issuing a hero-gram to the staff on Friday, before the final chapter unfolded.
“All of you, across every division of CNN Worldwide, have done exceptional work,” the memo read. “And when we made a mistake, we moved quickly to acknowledge it and correct it.”
That’s one way to spin it. I talked to several competitors who did not commit the same error, and one spoke for many when he said: “It was bad enough — really, really bad — so that they made all of us look terrible. Nobody comes away a winner from something like this.”
If legacy media were falling short, the new order did not look all that promising either. A crowd-sourced witch hunt took place on Reddit, identifying innocents as suspects, and Twitter was alive with both misinformation and outrage at the mistakes. (There were many curiously triumphal posts about the death of old media in Twitter feeds that were full of links to that same old media.)...