BBC political editor Nick Robinson apologized on Thursday for quoting a source who said the perpetrators in the Woolwich attack were of "Muslim appearance."
Robinson took to BBC's website to post an apology note. He wrote that minutes before air, he was told by a source that the police had "described the attackers as being of 'Muslim appearance' and shouting 'Allahu Akbar.'" He quoted the source directly on the air, which prompted backlash from viewers. He added:
...I'm sorry for using a phrase that, on reflection, was both liable to be misinterpreted and to cause offence. Many Muslims were quick to condemn the attack and to distance themselves and their religion from the brutal savagery seen on the streets of Woolwich.
Robinson's gaffe calls to mind that of CNN's John King, who mistakenly reported that an "arrest had been made" days after the bombings at the Boston Marathon and that the individual was "a dark-skinned male." In addition to King misreporting that an "arrest" had been made, his "dark-skinned male" comment drew backlash from viewers, members of the media and more.
"Disturbing that it's OK for TV to ID a Boston bombing suspect only as 'a dark-skinned individual,'" PBS' Gwen Ifill tweeted at the time.