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Gayle King, Snoop Dogg End Battle Over Kobe Bryant Interview

Gayle King Power of Women 2017
Marco Grob for Variety

Peace in our time.

A bizarre social-media battle between a prominent CBS News journalist and a rapper employed by another arm of her parent company has finally been settled.

Gayle King on Thursday night said she would accept an apology issued by entertainer Snoop Dogg, who had threatened King with violence after she asked a WNBA player about sexual-assault charges that had been levied against former NBA great Kobe Bryant in the days after his death. CBS News isolated that particular exchange in a clip that was distributed on social media, spurring some criticism of King for asking the question.

Snoop Dogg issued a mea culpa after several prominent figures, including former Obama official Susan Rice and MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski, came to King’s defense.

“I accept the apology and understand the raw emotions caused by this tragic loss. I’m deeply sorry that questions I asked added to that pain. That was never my intention,” King said in a statement issued via CBS News Thursday. “As a journalist, it is sometimes challenging to balance doing my job with the emotions and feelings during difficult times. I don’t always get it perfect but I’m constantly striving to do it with compassion and integrity.”

Snoop Dogg and home-arts guru Martha Stewart are partners in “Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party,” which is in its third season on VH1, one of the many cable networks owned by ViacomCBS, the media conglomerate that resulted from a merger late last year between Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. That network has kept mum on Snoop Dogg’s remarks, even as CBS News’ president, Susan Zirinsky, came to King’s defense over the weekend.

King last Thursday took to social media to explain that the question she had asked WNBA player about Bryant was only one of many about the basketball legend. In a two-part video posted to Twitter and Instagram, King told followers, “If I had only seen the clip that you saw, I would be extremely angry with me too. I am mortified, I am embarrassed and I am very angry,” adding that “unbeknownst to me, my network put up a clip from a very wide-ranging interview, totally taken out of context and when you see it that way, it’s very jarring.”

Few major TV anchors have not had to grapple with such backlash in recent years. As more TV-news operations turn to digital media to lure younger viewers, they flood Twitter and other outlets with short video bursts that contain enough content to grab an individual’s attention, and can hopefully push that person to seek out more at a news outlet’s own platform. But the clips isolate a piece of an interview, or even a longer bit of dialogue – and often contain context-free questions, declarations or on-screen reactions that spur outsize reaction. That reaction often draws other social-media users to the discussion, and an anchor or correspondent can be pilloried without being able to defend themselves or get people to watch a fuller presentation.