What was the accusation?

In January 2011, during a CNN panel discussion on the Chicago mayoral race, political watchdog group director Andy Shaw commented that Rahm Emanuel (one of the mayoral candidates) was figuratively “in the crosshairs” of his opponents, also running vigorous campaigns. Shaw’s imagery of firearms use in the political sphere (especially in light of the recent shooting of U.S. House Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona) led CNN news anchor and national correspondent John King, the discussion’s moderator, to offer an impromptu on-air apology for Shaw’s choice of words shortly thereafter.  

Key Apologia Strategies:




“Before we go to break, I want to make a quick point. We were just having a discussion about the Chicago mayoral race just a moment ago. My friend Andy Shaw, a guy who works for a good government group out there, used the term ‘in the crosshairs’ in talking about the candidates out there. We’re trying, we’re trying to get away from that language. Andy is a good friend, he’s covered politics for a long time, but we’re trying to get away from using that kind of language. We won’t always be perfect, so hold us accountable when we don’t meet your standards.”  


Balan, M. (2011, January 19). CNN’s King apologizes for guest’s ‘crosshairs’ term. NewsBusters. Retrieved from

Hayden, E. (2011, January 19). CNN apologizes for using term ‘crosshairs.’ The Atlantic. Retrieved from