Accuracy in Media

carol costello cnn

While reporting on the tragic shooting at the D.C. Navy Yard on Monday, CNN anchor Carol Costello seemed to forget the Ft. Hood shootings as an example of a similar act carried out on a U.S. military facility.

Costello was speaking with her producer, Brian Todd, who was located near the Navy Yard:

I used to work in Washington, live in Washington. This seems so unusual to me that a gunman could create this kind of havoc at a U.S. military facility. Have you ever heard of this happening before, Brian?

Todd who was having trouble hearing Costello with all the air activity asked her to repeat her question:

I was just saying that this is so unusual, because this is such a heavily-secured military facility. I’ve worked in Washington for many years, I’ve never heard of such a thing happening.

Todd then reminded Costello of the shootings at Ft. Hood:

Well, we haven’t either in this area, Carol. This is the first time we’ve seen something like this, at least in many, many years. Now of course you remember the Fort Hood shooting in 2009, where that was a member of the service who was convicted eventually of doing that shooting.

Conservatives have jumped all over Costello for her apparent memory lapse, while liberals have risen to her defense saying that she was specifically talking about Washington, D.C.

While Costello did refer to her time in Washington, she didn’t make it clear that she was only talking about such an event having taken place in the District, and the question seemed to have confused Todd, who tried to give her a lifeline by making it D.C. specific.

Costello could have easily avoided this controversy if she had either been more specific in her questioning of her producer, or by mentioning the Ft. Hood shootings as another example of such an act. But that thought somehow eluded her.

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