Media Scandals Over The Years

Illustration for article titled Media Scandals Over The Years

News anchor Brian Williams was mired in scandal this week after admitting that he had lied for years about being in a helicopter that was hit by enemy fire while covering the Iraq War in 2003. Here are other journalism scandals and controversies that news outlets have experienced over the years:

  • 1963: Walter Cronkite is accused of unprofessionalism during his coverage of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination due to his heavy use of the phrase “Holy guacamole!” throughout the broadcast
  • 1987: Peter Jennings faces claims of partiality after snorting a line of cocaine off his desk during ABC World News Tonight and claiming that the War on Drugs is unwinnable
  • 1997: Tom Brokaw comes under fire after failing to name the source who identified the Greatest Generation for him
  • 1998: In a slip-up that has far-reaching implications, food critic Bryan Miller describes the texture of roasted quail flambéd with cognac as “toothsome” when it was in fact more accurately described as “luscious”
  • 2003: Following a celebrated story on the new 2 Fast 2 Furious release, a veteran reporter at Entertainment Tonight admits to paying off sources for information about whether the cast had the time of their lives on set
  • 2006: The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and scores of other news sources address the fact that they provided overly credulous reporting about the threat posed by Iraq that helped lead the nation into a long, disastrous war on false pretenses by issuing one-line corrections on page two of their publications
  • 2009: The editor of Horticulture magazine is accused of nepotism after giving an internship to one of his own ferns
  • 2011: News Corp.’s British tabloid News Of The World shocks the global population when it’s revealed that its reporters are somehow competent enough to hack phones
  • 2015: Brian Williams lies on live television with his claim that he’s not in a career that is crashing and burning