“Dewey Defeats Truman” was the famous headline when the Chicago Daily Tribune got the presidential election results wrong in 1948. And it happens all the time now that so many news sources are competing for “real time” news, and being the first to report a story.
A recent example was this morning’s announcement of the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Healthcare Act--President Obama's health care law often called “Obamacare.”
CNN repotedly got the announcement wrong, reporting that the courts had struck down the “individual mandate” part of the law—the cornerstone of the legislation.
Their rush to be first left egg on the face of two global news organizations. On CNN, Congressional correspondent Kate Boulduan read out part of the Court's ruling, which said that the individual mandate could not be upheld using the Commerce Clause. Unfortunately, she missed the other part of the ruling, which said that it could be upheld as a tax.
"SUPREME CT. KILLS INDIVIDUAL MANDATE" flashed on the screen. Fox News ran a similar report. The reporting innacuraciies were quickly corrected--an ADVANTAGE of real-time news that the Chicago Daily Tribune did not have in 1948
Other news outlets were more cautious. Prior to the announcement, the New York Times had specifically warned its audience that the ruling might take time for journalists and legal experts to absorb.