CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield ‘Misspoke’ When Calling Dallas Gunman ‘Courageous and Brave’

Fredricka Whitfield Apology

UPDATED: CNN anchor Fredricka Whitfield addressed the controversy surrounding her after she called the gunman accused of opening fire at the Dallas Police Department “courageous and brave” on Saturday, explaining the incident on her show on Sunday.

“During a segment on the Dallas Police Department Attack, I used the words ‘courageous and brave’ when discussing the gunman,” she said on air. “I misspoke and in no way believe the gunman was courageous, nor brave.”

Whitfield made the comment on Saturday while discussing the incident with a CNN legal analyst.

“It was very courageous and brave, if not crazy as well, to open fire on the police headquarters, and now you have this scene, this standoff. So you believe these are the hallmarks of more than one person’s involvement,” she said.

The comment immediately sparked outrage on social media. CNN’s Brian Stelter said via Twitter earlier on Sunday that Whitfield would apologize for the comment on her show.

The suspect, reported but not confirmed to be James Boulware, is believed to be dead after a standoff with police.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 183

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. KennyVee says:

    Brave: ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage
    Courageous: not deterred by danger or pain; brave

    That’s how the Oxford English Dictionary defines those words. It says nothing of honor or nobility of the actions taken with disregard for danger or pain.

    It takes bravery and courage to do stupid things — just as it takes bravery and courage to do incredibly noble things. Calling someone brave doesn’t automatically equal endorsement. Perhaps people who are throwing a fit over her accurate use of language should learn how words work.

    • Bruce Wayne says:

      Apologist: the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as, “One who apologizes for, or defends by argument…see KennyVee.”

  2. Jayne says:

    Now she can add LIAR as well as racist to her resume.

  3. DAMIEN says:

    The mask skipped off with a thud

  4. I can understand what she meant; she just didn’t say it correctly or possibly didn’t complete the thought. If she were any one else, the comment would be seen as sarcastic – that is what I believe she meant it to be. After all, you’d have to be a lunatic to fire on a police station, not really brave or courageous.

  5. R Carle says:

    a loser. has been and always will be

  6. Tom Smith says:

    yes it is only because she is an African-American that she is still employed. She meant exactly what she said.

  7. Chuck Lattka says:

    there will be no more CNN on my TV till she is fired. She is worse than a huge bowl movement. FIRE HER NOW, BAD PUBLICITY AND NO VIEWERS TILL SHE GOES !!!!!

  8. Variety, spin whores! is the one who should apologize for taking the comment way out of context.

  9. If she were white, she’d be out of a job already….

  10. Cindy S says:

    You call what she said an “apology”? I call it backpedaling. She offended the truly courageous & brave men and women who put on uniforms every single day and protect us from evil–either in law enforcement or military–and those who have been gravely injured & maimed as well. Ever heard of the Wounded Warriors? Now those folks are courageous and brave, not some angry dirtbag who wants to MURDER as many cops as possible just because they are doing their jobs enforcing the law. Fred needs to be FIRED & CNN should clean house of anyone with an agenda of hate, race-baiting & anti-law enforcement mentality. I’ve been a lifelong, faithful CNN viewer & I’ve noticed how they have been leaning for far too long, but this is as blatant as anything I’ve even seen. Fredricka Whitfield has lost all credibility with me. FIRE FRED, CNN!!

  11. kelly wilson says:

    this stupid bitch did NOT misspeak she knew exactly what she was saying. she is feeding the hate police agenda that the left is hellbent on doing. cnn should fire her TODAY. she apologized cuz cnn made her not cuz she felt bad.

  12. paulbartomioli says:

    The First Amendment exists for statements such as yours to be expressed. The protections of the First Amendment apply to your employer in its course of business. You are fortunate to live in the United States of America.
    No, you did not mis-speak. Those are quite simple terms to understand. You stated what you truly believed, for whatever reason. Since you work for a company that has no standards of conduct, your job is safe. I find it interesting that you made your faux apology after consulting with legal advice. IF it were not for the internet, I would not have known about your statement. I don’t watch your station.

  13. And yet she’s still working, on her show, what-ever…

  14. Gena says:

    She probably meant brazen. Sometimes words just don’t come out like you mean to say them. And yes, move on!

  15. davidmoz says:

    Not for a second do i believe that she misspoke. She didn’t know at the time that the gunman was a white lunatic and assumed that it was a black person protesting police brutality, which of course made him brave and courageous. Now, of course, she knows who it was, so that changes everything and she is sincere in her apology given what she knows now.

  16. Lance says:

    She misspoke and apologized …move along nothing more to see

  17. margi ayers says:

    stupid bitch

  18. merry robinette says:

    I can’t stand her…she asks some of the dumbest questions, also acts like she is better than other people.

  19. Gregory Ney says:

    just because you said your sorry doesn’t make you any less STUPID!! maybe you should go visit a VA hospital and meet some real brave and courageous men and women

  20. iam Txzn says:

    I don’t think it’s about definitions as much as it is context to the many varied viewing audiences – the unstable mind that hears an an act of violence is “brave or courageous” can pervert that as a message of support, duplicate or escalate.
    It’s really frustrating, to the point of troubling to see supposed professionals make amateur mistakes & then the network see’s no foul.

  21. A Oz Brown says:

    No part of the definitions of brave or courageous says honorable. You people are idiots if you think Mrs. Whitfiled’s remarks were in anyway condoning the actions of this terrorist! Read a dictionary! Brave and courageous mean, in short, disregard for harm or fear! What I interpret her remarks to mean is; this animal had no regard for his well being when he choose to launch an attack on the heavily fortified Dallas Police Headquarters. Too many people are given votes they aren’t informed enough to use responsibly!

    • Derek Z says:

      ridiculous. well I guess you also think the men who executed the events of 9/11 were very courageous and brave. come on man, look beyond the color of her skin when you come to someone’s defense.

      • Jessica K says:

        You know as well as anyone else that the connotation of such terms are just as important as their denotations. You are suggesting that we should not consider the word based on its social implications but rather it definition. I posit that there are a great many words that have a meaning not originally outlined by Webster. So, bottom line is you seem far less informed than those you would deny electoral rights to-which by the way has nothing to do with this conversation.

  22. Alea Rose says:

    So if a dude had said it, what would you call him?

  23. That is not an apology. An apology admits wrongdoing and regret of wrongdoing. Saying she “misspoke” is neither.

    • Mickey says:

      I love celebrity non-apologies. Pure comedy!

      The woman speaks for a living. Even an idiot like me doesn’t use the words “courageous and brave” unless I mean them. She didn’t “misspeak.” The accidentally spoke what she really thought. THAT was her mistake.

  24. t martucci says:

    morons have become a daily part of the dumbing down of newstations. “i’m sorry” or misspoke have no value anymore.

  25. Beth C. Pfohl says:

    LOL here but also a bit sad, too. This is what passes for intelligence in todays’ media, supposedly groomed and refined by years spent in college/journalism school. It’s not hard to understand why there is a significant portion of the country that looks at the current collection of “talking heads” on television with little, if any respect.

    I’d also be curious to see who she would prefer to call if she herself was caught in the crossfire of a situation such as this, or if she was taken hostage. Might be interesting to put a camera on her face and a microphone under her nose after she’d cleaned up after probably soiling herself. We might then find out who, in her view, was “courageous” and “brave”. Then again, there’s always the possibility she’d find some angle to excuse the shooter…..


  26. phil says:

    You stay classy san diego

  27. amiablejak says:

    Wait – Maybe she’s right, you know – I mean it took some deranged balls for this guy to do what he did: and if courage is defined as, “the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty” – he kinda did that – oh no wait – he ran/drove away for 11-12 miles until his tires were shredded. And I guess he didn’t withstand danger, fear or difficulty – he caused the it all … so there’s that. What’s left? he didn’t persevere, or withstand… um. No.
    We could do the same with being brave – “not showing fear.” but whatever – she’s wrong.

    • yorbroken says:

      Freddy inadvertently got the ‘crazy’ right. She’s 1 for 3. If this was major league baseball and she was the pinch hitter, that would be a marketable skill that would demand some big bucks on the open market,

  28. yorbroken says:

    Ms Whitfield, whose father is black and mother is Caucasian, has a bias. Whitfield described the man who opened fire on DPD hdqtrs as ‘brave and courageous’…and ‘crazy’. That was when Whitfield presumed the perpetrator was an aggrieved black person or an Islamic terrorist. After it was revealed that the shooter/bomber was a privileged white guy, Whitfield apologized, saying she “misspoke” when she complimented the shooter as being “brave and courageous”. (I sometimes miss speak and refer to my grand daughter by my youngest daughter’s name.) Whitfield meant what she said and she said what she meant. It was no Freudian slip of the tongue or mixed metaphor. The CNN brass should not accept Whitfield’s lame excuse and half azz apology. Whitfield should be subjected to public interrogation, under oath by two DPD detectives: one Caucasian and one black, one male and one female.

  29. Fredricka NOT FIRED yet … CNN?!
    Nobody “misspoke” here that is exactly what she thought at the time. Real time/live.
    Maybe there is a job opening for her in Baltimore?

  30. Den says:

    She did not misspeak at the time, only after the outrage did she misspeak. I haven’t the faintest idea how CNN feels about it except that I know they wish this would just go away.

  31. Jane Johnson says:

    Unforgiveable she should be fired and by the way she did not apologize !

  32. david gaumer says:

    I think is amazing what these “unbiased” news morons get away with saying and still keep their jobs. Stand up for people who murdered others? perhaps their are some anchor openings in Russia today?

  33. I’m not at all saying that I think she should be forced to apologize but this is not an “apology”. “During a segment on the Dallas Police Department Attack, I used the words ‘courageous and brave’ when discussing the gunman,” she said on air. “I misspoke and in no way believe the gunman was courageous, nor brave.” Besides I think CNN should be the only ones culpable for an apology as they are who put her on the air and her lack of command of the English language is on them not her.

    • Jaymz B. says:

      HER lack of command of the English language? You mean YOUR (and everyone else’s) lack of command of the English language. She used the words properly and she was entirely correct. She’s not apologizing for her words. She’s having to apologize for everyone else’s lack of common sense. “Courageous” and “brave” are synonyms that both mean “not deterred by danger or pain”. Obviously, this guy was not deterred by danger or pain. So, he was, in fact, both courageous and brave. Just because we don’t agree with his motives doesn’t mean he’s not brave.
      Think about an American soldier getting into a gun fight overseas. It doesn’t take any more or less courage or bravery for an American soldier to get into a gunfight than it does a foreign soldier to get into the exact same gunfight. Both are in danger and neither are “deterred by danger or pain”; making them both equally brave.
      The same thing applies here. Just because you disagree with the motives or are mad at the guy or whatever doesn’t change fact. The fact is that he disregarded his own safety and was not deterred by danger or pain. By every definition of the words, he was both courageous and brave. I’m sure flying a plane into a building is pretty scary. So, to carry out such an act, courage and bravery are a requirement. Just because it’s a different cause than your own doesn’t mean someone’s not brave. In fact, it takes more bravery and courage to get into a gunfight with 20 police officers than it does for 20 police officers to get into a gun fight with 1 guy. Judging by the arguments here and the ACTUAL definition of the words, if this guy wasn’t courageous and brave, then the police were downright cowards for being too scared to do anything but gang up on the guy and outnumber him. See how that works here? No, I don’t think the police are cowards. But, this guy obviously isn’t a coward either. A coward, by definition, would never be able to carry out such an act.
      What about the awards we give to the military? One guy goes into hostile territory disregarding his own safety and you call him brave and courageous. This guy goes into what he perceives as hostile territory disregarding his own safety and….wait, he’s NOT brave and courageous??? He did the EXACT same thing as the other guy and you labeled him a hero! What’s the difference? Oh…the only difference is that you AGREE with the other guy’s motives. So, it has absolutely nothing to do with her choice of words and everything to do with public bias. If the exact same guy did the exact same thing but he was attacking ISIS instead of the police, you would label him a hero and people wouldn’t shutup for months about his bravery and courage. It takes the same amount of courage to attack either one. Both require you to not be deterred by danger or pain. They’re both exactly the same. The only difference is the bias that the public is showing because they don’t agree with his motives. I don’t either. But, it still took bravery to do what he did. If carrying out an attack on a perceived enemy is such a piece of cake and doesn’t require courage or bravery, then strap your asses up and go overseas and start taking out ISIS members. That’s OUR perceived enemy. Same thing. But, just to appease everyone who gets so hurt by a few words, I’ll be sure not to refer to you as “courageous” or “brave” when you get back. Good luck.

      • I’m not a paid reporter that reaches hundreds of thousands of people with my choice of words. You know as well as I do that those words go beyond Webster’s basic definition when you add context. If not maybe you shouldn’t be trying to defend her as she’s better off without you. The guy was under cover of night in an armored van and using pipe bombs. None of this took courage and it wasn’t an act of bravery it was an act of derangement as he was ready to take innocent lives that had nothing to do with the decision of the courts to not give him custody of his child. “Courageous and brave”? ‘Moronic and self destructive’ would have been better words as they not only fit the description of his actions but hers as well. Your attempt at covering for her by disregarding context is about as ignorant as her attempt of finding the correct adjectives for describing derangement.

      • Jerry says:

        Nice Explanation……..Your a Dick Head!!!
        I mean I like My Dick Head so I guess I used it right

  34. R L Nelson says:

    This is America, we have the RIGHT to think and say what we want. I may not agree with what is being said, but I sure defend her and your right to say it without having to be “fired” or “punished” for it.

    • phil says:

      The first amendment doesn’t protect you from the consequences of your actions. It just protects you from being sent to jail for saying something or believing something

    • JennP says:

      You have the right to think and say what you want, but it doesn’t guarantee you freedom from all consequences. Your job and your reputation are not protected by the First Amendment.

  35. EKoser says:

    Lets be honest here, she did not “misspeak”, you don’t say something like that unless you actually feel that way. That was not a mistake, it’s a glimpse into her true character. I am no longer watching, and encouraging everyone to boycott CNN until she is fired!

  36. Her “Mistake in words” should not go unpunished.

  37. Brent says:

    Did you idiots actually think this lady was intentionally portraying this nut as a hero? She’s a *journalist*, and, despite the fact that she talks for a living, she still makes mistakes like the rest of us. Dumbasses like y’all are what’s screwing our nation; everyone thinks whoever disagrees with them is some demonic being instead of just another person.

    • Ralph says:

      I just can not buy that using those words to describe the gunman, were merely an accident. She thought she could get away with that characterization of the gunman and didn’t count on the severe blow back that she got. Her remarks were akin to someone calling James Earl Ray, ‘courageous and brave’. She should have been terminated!!

  38. Bob says:

    CNN – the Yahoo news of cable broadcasting

    • Delores says:

      I am so tired of news people attempting to Make the news. Most don’t even seem to understand what is going on in the world, and appear to too lazy to investigate properly to find out. For shame.

  39. Sam America says:


    • truther says:


    • Brent says:

      Actually, the Nazi Party was a radical right-wing party, as was the Fascist party. In World War Two, the U.S was led by two Democrat presidents and the USSR, of course, was communist. Churchill was a right-winger, being a notable exception. As for this controversy, she’s a journalist and she accidentally said a few wrong words. It happens to the best of them.

  40. Julia Charles says:

    Just goes to show how “courageous” and “brave” and even “hero” have completely lost their meaning because of rampant overuse by, well, people just like her.

    • Dead In Hell says:

      Courage –

      1. the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear
      2. the ability to do what frightens one

      Take whichever one you like. Where is the part that precludes this word from being used to describe someone that we don’t like? Courage and bravery are often associated with “heroes” and therefore have a positive connotation. But the anchor did technically use the words correctly. To engage in such an act does fulfill the requirements of the definition of courage. Whether you like that or not is another story.

      • Umm, he was in an armored van and under cover of night and surprise using bombs that he didn’t have to be courageous to build. That isn’t courage it’s cowardice and has nothing to do with a description of this man other than a false description. Along with the literal definition of words comes the context of the event being described. She’s a national reporter with hundreds of thousands of viewers and should have a better grasp of the language if she’s going to be put in such a position. CNN should be the ones apologizing and she should be removed from her position.

  41. Nancy says:

    How damn stupid and insulting. Get rid of her.

  42. Cairenn Day says:

    That is not misspeaking, that is making some kind of a ‘hero’ from him. I am tired of the cop hate that I am seeing in the media as well as that in the alternative media. It seems that it gets viewers, and that is all some care.

    CNN needs to take her off the air and make her write copy for a year of so.

    • Doug says:

      I spent 27 years of my life as an Officer protecting People like Fredricka…Did I make a mistake…I think so… she doesn’t deserve any of my respect.

  43. phil says:

    Just a bad choice of words. No harm.

  44. John Dokimakais says:

    You people are all doing exactly what the puppet masters want. Wasting your time, thoughts and energy arguing about something this unimportant while they steal our future printing bad money, poison our food water and air, suppress break thru technologies and so on. If you all were not so busy fighting and arguing with each other (Conservatives v. Liberals) you would see this and direct your outrage there. Ever hear the word divide and conquere? That is what’s happening here. The set up of having 2 parties of almost equal size with opposing core beliefs arguing about whatever the media which they own tells you is important is brilliant and you all are playing right into it. THIS CRAP DOESNT MATTER. PLEASE WATCH THE DOCUMENTARY FILM THRIVE and you will understand what’s really going on.

    • eric says:

      Omg your so.right
      None saw your. Brilliant post they just keep blathering about meaningless who to blame

      • Sam America says:


  45. Get your Resume in order, clean out your desk and SUBMIT YOUR RESIGNATION. Your idea of an apology certainly differs from the one in WEBSTER’S UNABRIDGED DICTIONARY. Sadly CNN Does have the balls to fire you since you are a Liberal etc. If you were a Conservative you would have been fired immediately. Oh excuse me, there are no Conservatives at CNN.

    • eric says:

      Omg your so.right
      None saw your. Brilliant post they just keep blathering about meaningless who to blame

    • Ruth says:

      Apologize ? Too late, lady. You said exactly what you meant and your apology is not accepted. I certainly hope you never find another job in broadcasting, at least in this country. You are a pathetic piece of work.

  46. Dan Steele says:

    I really don’t see how this qualifies as an apology. It may be considered a clarification or a retraction; but, without the words “I’m sorry”, certainly is not an apology!

  47. Donna Baki says:

    What an idiot. Misspoke? really? No wonder CNN is crashing and burning! You are supposed to be a Professional? Journalist? How much do you make? Unacceptable!

  48. Sam Rowe says:

    …..and of course, We should just accept her apology and move on…..right…..

  49. in the first place she didn`t make a mistake typical of her kind she was trying to stir unrest over her words to increase her stations ratings funny if a man had said that he would have been let go right after her apology wont be and should not be taken as sincere since she loves mass murders so much and hates law enforcement strip her butt naked and throw he in with some murders after all its all about the love.

  50. What do you expect? She’s a talking head, not a journalist.

    • James Halston says:

      She needs to be let go, she is not professional. She was rude and unprofessional with Joan Rivers too. This person has no respect..

More TV News from Variety