ABC News On Defensive Over Shooting Coverage: “We Take The Truth Seriously”

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TV coverage.

ABC News president Ben Sherwood and Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos spent this morning at the TCAs apologizing and then defending the network’s coverage in the wake of last week’s Colorado movie theater shooting, after a pair of incidents raised questions about its reporting. Sherwood was asked if the pressure to be first on the air with news may be leading to more errors being made at his news organization. “I challenge the assumption that more mistakes are being made,” he said. “All I can say is that ABC News takes the truth seriously.”

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Sherwood denied that the network made any error in its characterization of the conversation reporter Matthew Mosk had the morning of the shooting with suspect James Holmes’ mother Arlene, whom the reporter had awakened with the news. Arlene Holmes’ response to the statement “You have the right person” was characterized as a comment about her son. But this week, she said through her attorney that she was referring to herself in terms of them reaching the “right person.” “It was obviously a very distressing situation for Mrs. Holmes,” Sherwood said. “But we stand behind our reporter’s characterization of what ensued in that conversation and his description of that conversation.”

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