Video: CNN wants answers to explain its bad reporting

posted at 1:36 pm on September 11, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier today, CNN broke news that a Coast Guard ship had opened fire on another boat in the Potomac area, expending ten rounds, as Washington DC spent the day commemorating the 9/11 attacks. Later, it turned out that no shots had been fired at all. CNN reacted to radio traffic of a Coast Guard drill and ran with the story without confirming it. Now, Jeanne Meserve says people will demand answers, presumably from the government — but perhaps viewers would like some answers from CNN instead:

Politico notes the White House’s fully-justified retort:

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs today criticized CNN – not the Coast Guard – over the panic caused by the agency’s training exercise on the 9/11 anniversary, saying that the alarm could have been avoided if the network had checked its facts.

Gibbs said he wouldn’t second-guess Coast Guard leadership for holding a Potomac River exercise on the morning of the 9/11 commemoration. But he took a shot at CNN, which initially didn’t know the maneuvers in the Potomac were part of an exercise and erroneously reported that gunshots were fired – something the homeland security department said didn’t occur.

“Let’s understand that best I can tell there was reporting based on listening to a police scanner that was not verified, and then it was on television and now we’ve raced back to find out that it’s a training exercise. So I think it appears as if a lot of this might have been avoided,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs told reporters that the Coast Guard was holding a news conference to explain the exercise. “Hopefully CNN will go,” Gibbs quipped. “My only caution would be that before we report things like this, checking would be good.”

The CNN reporter in the briefing room tried to push for the White House and the Coast Guard to explain holding exercises on 9/11, but Gibbs wasn’t biting:

The incident also set off a terse exchange between Gibbs and CNN reporter Elaine Quijano over the incident as Gibbs briefed reporters. Quijano asked whether the public should have been informed about a training exercise on the 9/11 anniversary.

“If we set aside the media coverage, would you be asking this question?” Gibbs said.

Mark your calendars for this one, because I agree completely with Robert Gibbs on this. The “panic” over the exercise originated entirely at CNN, due to their rush to go live with a story before properly verifying it. They have a reporter at the White House and people at the Pentagon. Why not ask first whether the Coast Guard had an exercise? Are they that desperate for a scoop?

The military of the US is on constant duty, and the best way to ensure that they operate at their best capacity is constant training. Today, while significant for our nation, is just another day to prepare for our defense to the Coast Guard and the other branches of the service. No one would have “panicked” over this exercise or even known of its existence had CNN not freaked out over a radio communication.

This is the day we’re supposed to honor our fighting men and women for their dedication and service in defending the nation, not quibble about normal exercises.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3

Consider the high level of security for today, an exercise was inappropriate. Having said that, CNN owns the error and should have suffering the humiliation.

thmsmgnm on September 11, 2009 at 3:53 PM

I agree with you Ed, but one question remains. I’m not sure how CNN could have intercepted the CoastGuard. I work with these guys in savannah and I’m telling you the channel is Digital and Encoded. I am also a Reservist as well and our radios are all digital and encoded. Weird.

Just saying.

Amadeus on September 11, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Corky Boyd on September 11, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Been out of the loop for a few years… but I’m suprised they were running these drills on public channels…

No encrytion available for Tactical Communications?

Romeo13 on September 11, 2009 at 3:56 PM

The answer for this bad report and all of the garbage reporting at CNN is CNN and the brain dead people they have working there.In plain English you people SUCK.

thmcbb on September 11, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Consider the high level of security for today, an exercise was inappropriate.

thmsmgnm on September 11, 2009 at 3:53 PM

What was inappropriate about it? A couple boats on the river. No shots fired. All radio communication on a private channel. Same as any other day. I mean, if you cancel all training exercises on high-profile days, just how do you get trained to respond to attacks on high-profile days?

Ronnie on September 11, 2009 at 4:03 PM

Hey CNN…are you gonna take that from this flunky Gibbs?
Heh

RobCon on September 11, 2009 at 4:07 PM

Dont like gibby but he got this correct.

Greed on September 11, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Ronnie on September 11, 2009 at 4:03 PM

Uh, did you even read the reports?

PUBLIC unencrypted Channels. CNN heard it on a Police scanner.

Romeo13 on September 11, 2009 at 4:09 PM

Romeo13 on September 11, 2009 at 4:09 PM

Oh, well if CNN says it … LMAO .. it must be true.
Funny how all the media outlets have scanners, yet nobody else seemed to notice what CNN heard. Hmm.

Ronnie on September 11, 2009 at 4:15 PM

They do this exercise on a daily basis, yet no one ever noticed what was happening on a public (according to Romeo13) frequency? Come on.

Ronnie on September 11, 2009 at 4:17 PM

Its a scam.

Gibbs= Good Cop

CNN = Bad cop.

NickTx on September 11, 2009 at 4:26 PM

Been out of the loop for a few years… but I’m suprised they were running these drills on public channels…

No encrytion available for Tactical Communications?

Romeo13 on September 11, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Apparently the exercise simulated the USCG communicating with a civilian craft and CNN intercepted the unencrypted marine band radio traffic.

You would hope that civilian craft don’t have the capability of handling encrypted traffic.

SPCOlympics on September 11, 2009 at 4:31 PM

CNN will privately apologize to the White House for its boo-boo and upsetting Gibbs.
And to make sure CNN stays in the good graces of Obama, CNN will agree to a lengthy series of Obama and Michelle shows and interviews and news pieces on CNN to promote and praise the One.
Everyone wins!!!

albill on September 11, 2009 at 4:34 PM

LOL, just watched the first 10 minutes of The Constipation Room with Wolfman Flack.

Not one admission of their screwing this up. The Coast Guard got all of the blame.

Del Dolemonte on September 11, 2009 at 4:37 PM

Maybe CNN should try stories with more substantiation. Like ACORN assisting pimps and prostitutes with loans to buy houses to bring underage children into the country as sex-workers.

Mallard T. Drake on September 11, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Apparently the exercise simulated the USCG communicating with a civilian craft and CNN intercepted the unencrypted marine band radio traffic.

You would hope that civilian craft don’t have the capability of handling encrypted traffic.

SPCOlympics on September 11, 2009 at 4:31 PM

Makes sense then…. we used to run this type of training ALL encrypted… nothing ever went over any channel which Civilians could pick up…

We’d “simulate” the Civilian Radio traffic over Encrypted channels… for just this reason… so those around us would not Freak out because they didn’t know it was a training excercise…

Of course, we were also very careful to let any other Military unit around us know that we were going to be holding a drill… especialy in higher threat areas, like Foreign Ports.

Romeo13 on September 11, 2009 at 4:42 PM

What was inappropriate about it? A couple boats on the river. No shots fired. All radio communication on a private channel. Same as any other day. I mean, if you cancel all training exercises on high-profile days, just how do you get trained to respond to attacks on high-profile days?

Ronnie on September 11, 2009 at 4:03 PM

This training runs the risk of distracting security operations and panicking the local populace who maybe unaware of training operations. This really becomes a problem when a media outlet gets involved.

CNN is clearly at fault for not checking with the Coast Guard or anyone else before running the story.

thmsmgnm on September 11, 2009 at 4:50 PM

CNN intercepted the unencrypted marine band radio traffic.

SPCOlympics on September 11, 2009 at 4:31 PM

But no one else did? I don’t so. More likely is that CNN has a “source” who helped them get their hands on a very “special” police radio.

Ronnie on September 11, 2009 at 4:51 PM

CNN is clearly at fault for not checking with the Coast Guard or anyone else before running the story.

thmsmgnm on September 11, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Wolfman Hack claims that they did.

But of course, CNN also claimed that we were nerve-gassing civilians in Laos and murdering Iraqi journalists.

Del Dolemonte on September 11, 2009 at 4:53 PM

This training runs the risk of distracting security operations and panicking the local populace who maybe unaware of training operations. This really becomes a problem when a media outlet gets involved.

thmsmgnm on September 11, 2009 at 4:50 PM

But how is the risk any greater than on any other day? I enter into evidence the Air Force One fly-by in New York.

Ronnie on September 11, 2009 at 4:53 PM

CG boats by the Potomac bridges not unusual. CNN was acting on a tip by a “scanner buff.”

http://politics.theatlantic.com/2009/09/the_united_states_coast_guard.php

curved space on September 11, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Earlier today, CNN broke news that a Coast Guard ship had opened fire on another boat in the Potomac area, expending ten rounds, as Washington DC spent the day commemorating the 9/11 attacks. Later, it turned out that no shots had been fired at all.

With the crowds gathered by the Pentagon for the 9/11 commemoration, if 10 rounds had been shot, wouldn’t somebody have heard gunshots? Why didn’t CNN bother to check this instead of relying on a radio message from a make-believe Coast Guard drill?

Incidentally, on 9/11/2001, the Air Force was holding a military exercise over the Atlantic east of Virginia, which is why fighter jets were not available to intercept the plane which hit the Pentagon, and Flight 93 which may have struck the Capitol if its passengers hadn’t fought the terrorists to a stalemate resulting in its crash in PA.

At least in today’s exercise, the Coast Guard ships were in the right place if a real attack had occurred. And they didn’t have a low-flying jet scaring the wits out of New Yorkers.

Steve Z on September 11, 2009 at 5:09 PM

come on man, you can’t expect CNN to fact check a story!

hell they are too stupid to find the complete videos for the ACORN prostitution scandal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7W2nNZzlavU&feature=player_embedded

You know that the only true investigation work is done by novices like James O’Keefe and Hannah Miles.

sarainitaly on September 11, 2009 at 5:13 PM

Incidentally, on 9/11/2001, the Air Force was holding a military exercise over the Atlantic east of Virginia, which is why fighter jets were not available to intercept the plane which hit the Pentagon, and Flight 93 which may have struck the Capitol if its passengers hadn’t fought the terrorists to a stalemate resulting in its crash in PA.

Steve Z on September 11, 2009 at 5:09 PM

We only have four? Oh crap.

Ronnie on September 11, 2009 at 5:25 PM

Hey, just like Scare Force 1 was just taking pictures over New York City. This bunch in DC is clueless.

Kissmygrits on September 11, 2009 at 5:52 PM

Another thought on this exercise. I noticed the auto and train traffic on several bridges in the picture with the 2 boats doing the training. If they were really serious, shouldn’t CNN have questioned that the bridges hadn’t been closed to traffic.

Kissmygrits on September 11, 2009 at 5:55 PM

I’m surprised CNN was able to pull it’s reporters away from covering the unfolding ACORN prostitution training scandal to cover this…

/sarc

Kevin71 on September 11, 2009 at 5:57 PM

My favorite part is that CNN interpreted someone saying, “Bang, bang, bang” over the radio as actual gunfire. That sounds like a punchline to a “how stupid are they?” joke.

TwilightAuthor on September 11, 2009 at 5:58 PM

I suppose this incident highlights just how desperate Media organisations like CNN have become to be the first to break news story’s in the age of the 24hr news cycle and the hyper speed dissemination of information on the Internet. Checking facts takes time and the longer it takes to get breaking news on the air the more likely it becomes that someone else will break the story first.

Hellrider on September 11, 2009 at 6:01 PM

sarainitaly on September 11, 2009 at 5:13 PM

You should post here more often. Love your blog.

Geochelone on September 11, 2009 at 6:06 PM

CNN – Concocted News Network.

WTF? How dare our military folk work on a day like 9-11?!

Le Gasp!

HondaV65 on September 11, 2009 at 6:10 PM

Makes sense then…. we used to run this type of training ALL encrypted… nothing ever went over any channel which Civilians could pick up…

We’d “simulate” the Civilian Radio traffic over Encrypted channels… for just this reason… so those around us would not Freak out because they didn’t know it was a training excercise…

Of course, we were also very careful to let any other Military unit around us know that we were going to be holding a drill… especialy in higher threat areas, like Foreign Ports.

Romeo13 on September 11, 2009 at 4:42 PM

It could be a change in SOP since they’re now under DHS. Or is could have been a joint operation with civilian law enforcement and so it had to be on a clear channel since there are so many variations between local agencies.

SPCOlympics on September 11, 2009 at 6:46 PM

I am seeing a LOT of comments saying that the Coast Guard shouldn’t have been performing exercises today. I am sorry, but that is just horse hockey!
I did four years in the Navy, and I can tell you without a doubt, there is training of some type EVERY DAY. I have done fire drills on Christmas Eve, and security alerts on Thanksgiving. It may be only the “on-duty” personell involved, but training is a constant.

ArkCon on September 11, 2009 at 6:47 PM

9-11 and 6:30am at the University of Arizona and AFROTC Detachment 020 has gathered to raise the flag. We enjoy peace and freedom because there are beautiful young men and women who continue to stand in defense of the country. Hopefully their orders will be sound.

exdeadhead on September 11, 2009 at 6:49 PM

The Cable Game: Did CNN Really Blow It This Badly? Will Anyone Pay A Price? (Other Than The American People?)
http://thecablegame.blogspot.com/2009/09/did-cnn-really-blow-it-this-badly.html

ChickaBOOMer — CNN: Crank News Network
http://chickaboomer.blogspot.com/2009/09/cnn-crank-news-network.html

StewartIII on September 11, 2009 at 6:54 PM

There are comments here that the conversations carried on by the CG were encrypted. They weren’t. They are in the clear, in plain voice as you can hear if you listen to the CNN tapes. Also why would the CG warn the offending boat in ecrypted mode? That sort of makes cetrain they won’t get the message. Normal procedure here is to warn the offending boat on Marine UHF Ch. 16, which is supposed to be guarded and also by loudspeaker.

The CG should have interjected the words “this is a drill” during the exercise. People do use scanners. The CG failed to do that.

Corky Boyd on September 11, 2009 at 7:43 PM

It could be a change in SOP since they’re now under DHS. Or is could have been a joint operation with civilian law enforcement and so it had to be on a clear channel since there are so many variations between local agencies.

SPCOlympics on September 11, 2009 at 6:46 PM

Wasn’t the communication infrastructure one of the things that was supposed to be addressed? I remember somthing to that effect in the 9/11 Commision report…

I mean… come on… its been 8 years…

Romeo13 on September 11, 2009 at 7:46 PM

I am seeing a LOT of comments saying that the Coast Guard shouldn’t have been performing exercises today. I am sorry, but that is just horse hockey!
I did four years in the Navy, and I can tell you without a doubt, there is training of some type EVERY DAY. I have done fire drills on Christmas Eve, and security alerts on Thanksgiving. It may be only the “on-duty” personell involved, but training is a constant.

ArkCon on September 11, 2009 at 6:47 PM

Training is constant… but its also PRIVATE. You don’t go out and train where your Excercise can be miscontrued as the real thing…

You do know that when you ran Security training, it is SOP for your Officer of the Deck to send the Messenger to all Ships on your Pier, telling them you are doing a drill?

Romeo13 on September 11, 2009 at 7:48 PM

Geochelone on September 11, 2009 at 6:06 PM

Thank you! :O)
I read this blog daily!

sarainitaly on September 11, 2009 at 7:49 PM

Duh,..BIG RED TRUCK!!!!

It’s CNN!

nuff said.

christene on September 11, 2009 at 8:02 PM

The most trusted name in news, INDEED!!

LMAO…

Khun Joe on September 11, 2009 at 8:39 PM

Sorry Ed, you’re wrong. While this is not as boneheaded as the low Manhatten flyover, it’s close.

There’s no reason why this couldn’t have been announced ahead of time. That it wasn’t was idiocy on the part of the Coast Guard. Gibbs is doubling down on that idiocy.

Greg Q on September 11, 2009 at 9:14 PM

Hey, CNN…there’s a great product on the market. It’s called a telephone.

CNN = Consistently Nutcase Network.

GrannyDee on September 11, 2009 at 11:53 PM

The “panic” over the exercise originated entirely at CNN, due to their rush to go live with a story before properly verifying it.

And yet they missed “Pimps are Us” at Aporn
The wackie 9/11 truther in the White House.

Amazing.
Sad but Amazing.

DSchoen on September 12, 2009 at 12:02 AM

But they did get the one about that guy who called Obama a liar!

Even found out he’s taken “No Doze” ya know.

DSchoen on September 12, 2009 at 12:04 AM

The story repeats. The Clinton Broadcasting System (CBS) and Dan BLATHER were busted because they did the same thing. When and if will they ever learn? ( I know it’s a stupid question)

hamradio on September 12, 2009 at 12:53 AM

But they did get the one about that guy who called Obama a liar!

Even found out he’s taken “No Doze” ya know.

DSchoen on September 12, 2009 at 12:04 AM

OH! NO! Say it isn’t so.

The horror! The humanity!

GrannyDee on September 12, 2009 at 2:41 AM

Incidentally, on 9/11/2001, the Air Force was holding a military exercise over the Atlantic east of Virginia, which is why fighter jets were not available to intercept the plane which hit the Pentagon, and Flight 93 which may have struck the Capitol if its passengers hadn’t fought the terrorists to a stalemate resulting in its crash in PA.

Steve Z on September 11, 2009 at 5:09 PM

We only have four? Oh crap.

Ronnie on September 11, 2009 at 5:25 PM

Wasn’t the exercise the main reason that they were able to get planed in the air at all that day? They were vectored out over the water until they could get higher approval to approach the hijacked panes.

lexhamfox on September 12, 2009 at 5:51 AM

This training runs the risk of distracting security operations and panicking the local populace who maybe unaware of training operations. This really becomes a problem when a media outlet gets involved.

CNN is clearly at fault for not checking with the Coast Guard or anyone else before running the story.

thmsmgnm on September 11, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Do you have any clue as to what training actually is? When you see any security unit – be it secret service or the local police – they all conduct training as part of their day, that is how they stay prepared for an oh sh!t situation.

Quit trying to defend the Communist News Network and get over it. Like many others have already pointed out, units train constantly. We don’t get the luxury of relaxing on holidays.

jackal40 on September 12, 2009 at 6:58 AM

24 hour news cycle has to go…MJ and Teddy can only die 1x and I remember a day when ‘Breaking News’ was something serious (Shuttle exploded, etc), now it’s breaking news when Paris Hilton farts.

I think all these ‘smart’ newspeople should go out in the real world and contribute something tangible to society.

tatersalad on September 12, 2009 at 8:20 AM

I spent 30 years in the navy. What the CG did on 9/11 was demonstrate lack of headwork.
What CNN did was inexcusable.

Liberty Card on September 12, 2009 at 9:22 AM

My favorite part is that CNN interpreted someone saying, “Bang, bang, bang” over the radio as actual gunfire. That sounds like a punchline to a “how stupid are they?” joke.

TwilightAuthor on September 11, 2009 at 5:58 PM

I heard the “bang, bang, bang” “shots fired” on Rush’s show.

I don’t know which is the scarriest, the CNN report, or I actually agree with Robert Gibbs.

It made me laugh on an otherise somber day.
B-

Brian200 on September 12, 2009 at 3:36 PM

“Wasn’t the exercise the main reason that they were able to get planed in the air at all that day? They were vectored out over the water until they could get higher approval to approach the hijacked panes.”
lexhamfox on September 12

Not really.

They flew out over the Ocean cuz for the last 50 years it was assumed that an attack on the USA would originate outside the USA.

The standard drill for an attack was to scrabble out over the Ocean and intercept “bombers” before they could hit the mainland.

The highjacked plane’s flights all originated within the USA, making the highjacked planes a “domestic law enforcement” issue.

By law, The Posse Comitatus act 1878, the US military cannot be used for domestic law enforcement without the permission of Congress, yes Congress not the President.

The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385) passed on June 18, 1878, after the end of Reconstruction, with the intention

DSchoen on September 13, 2009 at 4:49 AM

The “panic” over the exercise originated entirely at CNN, due to their rush to go live with a story before properly verifying it.

But they couldn’t be bothered with the real Van Jones story. The “Watchdogs on Power” are barking at the mailman while the house is being robbed. Time to put them down.

RadClown on September 13, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3