In an official statement released Wednesday, the FBI said: "Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate. Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting."
On Thursday night, after an intense shootout at the MIT campus, authorities got a significant break in the investigation, confirming the identities of two culprits they had been pursuing. The firefight left one MIT police officer dead and a transit officer injured.
The two bombing suspects fingered by the FBI were named yesterday as Cambridge residents Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, both Chechen nationals who immigrated to the United States around 2002 or 2003.
Boston police are believed to have killed Tamerlan in the shootings. Dzhokhar remains at large.
But CNN called the FBI's allegations impetuous, and chastised the agency for prematurely accusing the brothers.
"Echoing the FBI's own rhetoric and admonishments to the press, we find their reporting equally hypocritical," Ed Calloway, an editor for CNN, announced Friday afternoon.
"Eyewitnesses captured thousands of images on their cell phones, and that evidence demands further scrutiny," Calloway added. "Until everything is reviewed -- every backpack and handbag on the ground searched, all persons in the photos identified and cleared of suspicion -- this case remains open. The FBI has irresponsibly labeled two young men from Chechnya as terrorists. Where is their proof? What are their sources?"
Calloway also cautioned that the FBI's "ethnic profiling is going to blight every Chechen living in the United States, opening their communities to bigotry, hate, physical attacks, and persecution. We don't imagine this will bode well for our strained relationship with Russia, especially given the ongoing situations in North Korea and Iran, where Russia has involvement."
CNN confirmed that it will continue to hunt for the perpetrators of Monday's heinous atrocities, releasing all incriminating images its reporters uncover during their hour-by-hour analysis of the videos and pictures submitted by marathon attendees and passersby. The Boston Athletic Association (BAA), which oversees the race, estimated that number to exceed 100,000.
CNN responded that "all 100,000 will be considered persons of interest by our staff, and every bag those individuals carried will be treated as evidence, even if the police and FBI have decided to make rash judgments in the interest of time."
For Calloway, CNN's comprehensive "err on the side of caution" approach not only assures thorough reporting but follows a historical precedent.
"We're taking a page right out of the 9/11 playbook," boasted Calloway. "Terrorists from different countries came together to attack America. We didn't have one group to retaliate against, just vague notions and a general concept of terror. So, President Bush declared war on that overarching concept and every nation that harbored it. We mobilized to Afghanistan and shelled the Taliban. But a lot of sources outside the military and intelligence bubbles wondered about Iraq. 'Why not?' I guess was the thinking. So we decimated Iraq. Better safe than sorry, right?"
And according to Calloway, these broader actions saw Osama bin Laden killed, the Taliban crippled, and democracy introduced to the Middle East.
"That's precisely how CNN is approaching all developing stories concerning the Boston bombings -- like the U.S. invasion of Iraq," he explained.
And as with the U.S. decision to invade Iraq, CNN is also relying on civilians far outside the inner circles of policy and authority to guide its thinking.
"CNN continues to be a popular and incredibly cost effective news leader because most of our stories come from people outside the journalism bubble -- those actually living on the streets where these things go down," Calloway said.
This business model allows CNN to hire less expensive actors instead of pricey, academically trained news anchors, because reading comments from Twitter and summarizing YouTube footage requires no special training or experience.
"When the FBI appealed to the public for assistance, they essentially validated our model," observed Calloway.
Each day until the real villains are captured, CNN plans to release new photos of suspects and leads culled from their unlimited sources who post on social networks.
CNN has already published a list of over 1,876 suspects.
Notable individuals today include an eight-year-old girl described as "some sort of Asian" by BuutyGurl2001, the CNN source who posted the photo on Instagram. The girl is seen loitering near a trashcan, carrying a Hello Kitty backpack. She returns to the trashcan several times in subsequent photos, apparently under orders of an adult who is shown pointing at the receptacle in the shots. The little girl also appears to be placing objects into the bin.
"Could be candy rappers [sic] and apple cors [sic], could be dinomite [sic]," BuutyGurl2001 noted.
Another possible suspect was referenced in a tweet from Boston-based user OldSkoolDiznyFan55, who posted: "Someone tell me how Oswald was lucky? He got killed off fast with no explanation. Seems fishy."
Some political reporters at CNN worried about a link between the Kennedy assassination conspiracies, Lee Harvey Oswald's alleged ties to the Soviet Union, and the two Chechens being accused of the bombings.
Moments ago, CNN also asked its readers for any information about a Tumblr blogger going by the handle CivilWarHistProf67, who recently published images of carnage over the caption "Boston Massacre." He also prominently mentioned an actor named John Booth, who regularly performed in Boston venues and may have been involved in a plot to assassinate a sitting president.
2013. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See disclaimers.