Boston Bombings: NY Post Puts 'Bag Men' on Cover, Gets Instant Denial

Tim Molloy
The Wrap

The New York Post ran a front page photo Thursday of two men it said authorities were seeking as they investigate the Boston Marathon bombing. But it may be yet another case of the Post raising suspicion about people who had nothing to do with a high-profile crime.

The Post stopped short of saying the men were potentially involved -- but the insinuation was obvious. Authorities have said the bomber or bombers left bags packed with explosives near the finish line.

Salah Barhoun, a 17-year-old runner who was one of the men singled out on the Post cover, told ABC News he went to the police to clear his name after his photo circulated. He said he had wanted to run in the race, and decided to watch it when he couldn't take part.

The Post said law enforcement authorities were circulating photos of the two men among themselves, citing what it said was an internal email.

Also read: Boston Bombings: News Outlets Wrong? Or Just 'Ahead of Themselves'?

It was, if nothing else, a big gamble for the Post, coming a day after several outlets -- including CNN, Fox News, and the Boston Globe -- had to walk back reports of an arrest in the case after federal authorities denied it.

After Monday's bombings, the Post played up a report that authorities had questioned a Saudi man, who was later cleared of any involvement.

The Post has been accused before of going too far in its treatment of people who later turned out to be innocent.

Last year, it referred to a man accused of being a subway groper as a "dapper fiend" before he turned out to be utterly innocent. Although the Post has since reported on his lack of involvement, the story with the "dapper fiend" reference remains online today.

This week, "The Central Park Five," a documentary that aired on PBS, made the case that the Post and other media outlets contributed to a rush to judgment in an infamous rape case in which five young defendants were later cleared.

Related Articles: 

Jon Stewart Rips CNN as 'Human Centipede of News' Over Boston Bombings Report (Video)

Boston Bombings: News Outlets Wrong? Or Just 'Ahead of Themselves'?