Officials address the media during a news conference in Watertown, Mass.,… (Julio Cortez/Associated…)
CNN might not have gotten all the facts straight, but viewers desperate for information on the Boston bombing manhunt seem willing to overlook some errors.
The cable news network has seen huge ratings spikes after Monday's bombing at the Boston marathon and through the dramatic law-enforcement investigation that has followed.
CNN drew a 194% ratings boost Monday through Thursday compared to the same period one week earlier, according to Nielsen. Fox News was up 48%, while MSNBC got a 37% lift.
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Between 11 p.m. and midnight Thursday — when news first broke of the first suspect's death after a fiery shootout with police and the resulting chaos in a Boston suburb — CNN narrowly edged Fox News, 986,000 versus 954,000 total viewers. MSNBC ran third with 392,000.
However, Fox News still held on to its advantage during prime time, when its core audience turns out for opinion programs. On Thursday, Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor" averaged 3.2 million — roughly typical performance — compared with 1.5 million for CNN's Anderson Cooper news show.
Even so, the overall numbers are good news for CNN, which was mired in journalistic embarrassment earlier in the week when the network mistakenly reported that a suspect was then in custody (in fairness, other news outlets reported the same or similiar information). CNN's John King was singled out for criticism by the NAACP and others for describing one of the suspects as a "dark-skinned male."
Authorities on Friday identified the suspect who died after the police confrontation as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a native of the Caucusus region of the former Soviet Union. His brother, also believed to be involved in the marathon bombing, was at large as of late Friday.
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