NY Times' Ann Curry Gaffe Called 'Sloppy Journalism' by NBC News Chief

The New York Times Newspaper 2011

By writing about a "Today" Show tribute segment that never aired on television, the newspaper drew strong criticism.

Those that watched the broadcast and then read New York Times chief television critic Alessandra Stanley's recap of Ann Curry's final goodbye on the Today Show may have been more than a little bit confused on Thursday.

Curry gave a teary speech and received kind words from her co-hosts on Today, making for a five minute sendoff alongside Matt Lauer, Al Roker, and Natalie Morales. The Times article dutifully reported that part, but then added in a description of an emotional highlight video from Curry's long-run on the show and even her earlier years reporting elsewhere. The only problem? That video never aired on television, and was never even scheduled to do so; it was, instead, an old video found online.

EXCLUSIVE: NBC News Chief Steve Capus on Ann Curry's Today Departure

"I think there are a lot of sloppy examples of journalism these days," NBC News President Steve Capus told The Hollywood Reporter on Friday. "When a television critic writes a critique of a program and then later admits she hasn’t watched the television broadcast, that’s bad journalism. That’s not just a mistake."

As it turns out, and as the Times noted in a correction posted on its website Friday, the video was made last year, as part of a celebration of her ascension to the co-anchor position; it's available on the show's website, but has nothing to do with her leaving.

That was actually the third mistake in Stanley's critique. A previous correction noted that Stanley had written that Savannah Guthrie, Curry's replacement, was included in Thursday's Today show send-off. Guthrie was on the show during the 7 a.m. hour to discuss the Supreme Court Health Care ruling, but she was not in the studio for Curry's goodbye. The newspaper also misidentified Morales as Guthrie in a photo caption; that was also corrected.

This was one of several prominent news gaffes this week; also on Thursday, both CNN and Fox News jumped the gun with their Supreme Court coverage, falsely reporting that the high court had found the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.