CNN and the Weather Channel both told viewers that the floor of the New York Stock Exchange was flooded with three feet of water Oct. 29 because of Hurricane Sandy. But, it wasn’t.
Weather anchor Chad Myers said on CNN last night that “According to the National Weather Service, through broadcast media, there’s three feet of water on the trading floor on Wall Street. Three feet of water on the New York Stock Exchange,” Poynter noted. When CNN’s Piers Morgan asked Myers about “conflicting reports” of the flooding, “about ten minutes later,” Myers said his source was “the National Weather Service Chat bulletin board.” Business Insider posted a photo of the CNN report with the text “3 FEET OF WATER ON FLOOR OF NYSE.”
“CORRECTED: #NYSE officials reporting that floor is NOT flooding at this time.”
Further, Myers said “during the midnight show” that his source of the claims “turned out to be a false report” and “I completely regret that error,” according to Wemple. Wemple also quoted CNN spokesperson Bridget Leininger as saying
“Chad referenced a National Weather Service report that turned out to be incorrect. We quickly made an on air correction. We regret the error.”
Wemple added that the National Weather Service’s spokesperson Chris Vaccaro told him that the weather service was “not the direct source of the report” and later told him that “The report came from local NYC media and appeared in a Local Storm Report from NWS, which summarizes area impacts. In that report the information regarding the NYSE was attributed to “media” accordingly. Once that flooding information was determined to be false, the report was updated with that removed.”
iMediaEthics has written to CNN asking if it made any other statements or corrections about the inaccurate reporting and will update with any response.
The Weather Channel also reported the stock exchange flood story, tweeting:
“‘3 ft of water on floor of the NY Stock Exchange’ via @TWCBryan #SuperStorm #Sandy #NYSE'”
Eighteen minutes later, the Weather Channel tweeted out that it was wrong, writing
“New reports from The Weather Channel News Desk show that the NY Stock Exchange does not have 3 ft. of water on trading floor. #Sandy”
iMediaEthics has written to the Weather Channel asking about how it verified the report before publishing and if it published any other corrections or statements about the inaccurate reporting. We’ll update with any response.
Fishbowl DC gave “credit for correcting” the NYSE story to Politico’s Ben White. White told Fishbowl DC that he looked into the story because it “seemed unlikely to me and poorly sourced.” White tweeted yesterday at 9:47 PM EST that “NYSE official tells me reports of water on the floor of the Exchange are FALSE.”
Another Sandy error/rumor: New York’s MTA tweeted Oct. 29 9:13 PM EST that despite other reports, the MTA didn’t know when it would be reopening public transit. The MTA wrote:
“Rumors are wrong. The MTA cannot assess damage until Tuesday. It is way too early for a subway reopening timetable.”
“Corrections & Amplifications: An earlier version of this post cited a report that MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota upped his estimate for the likely duration of the subway-service outage to ‘at least a week.’ Representatives for the authority disavowed that reported statement.”
Hat Tip: Society of Professional Journalists
UPDATE: 10/30/2012 9:13 PM EST: The Weather Channel’s Communications Coordinator Jazmine Maddox told iMediaEthics by email:
“The National Weather Service reported that the NYSE was under three feet of water. We reported that we were hearing reports that it was flooded. One of our meteorologists then asked, live on air, a CNBC reporter if the reports were true. He confirmed that they were false and we moved on to other coverage of Sandy.”