CNN made a major mistake last Wednesday when John King reported there was a Boston bombing suspect in custody.
It's very simple how CNN could have avoided a black eye.
The Associated Press was one of the sources. Saying the AP was the source of the information would have laid the blame for the mistake clearly on AP.
As a former wire service reporter, I've observed that people know that when a wire service, like AP, comes out with an important break in a case, people rely on it.
But CNN wanted to look like they'd broken the news, so instead of laying off the information on the Associated Press they pretended they had broken the story.
It was a major misjudgment by John King and his producer. It made CNN look really bad. CNN does well in times of national emergency. Their viewership goes for around 300,000 people to 1 million.
But instead of taking the approach a good news organization would take, it pretended it had broken the news. Hubris has no place in a news organization. The Associated Press is usually right, but there are times it has to do a row back and extricate itself from bad reporting. It would've been the AP's fault, not CNN's, if they had attributed the story to the AP.