News and Tribune


April 26, 2013

NASH: The reality of news


CNN reported on Wednesday that an arrest had been made, citing law enforcement sources. They also announced the suspect was due in court at any time when in fact the suspects had not yet been identified by name. Within an hour of the initial report statements from the FBI and other law enforcement agencies contradicted the news reports that had been repeated by several different news outlets.

The New York Post published pictures on its front page of two people that they claimed authorities were looking for. It turned out that the two pictured were not suspects and had nothing to do with the bombings at all.    

Why was there so much information out there that was just plain wrong? Why did so many news organizations continue to make inaccurate statements without double checking their facts?  In this age of instant media is it more important to get the story first or get the story right?

As the authorities closed in on the actual suspects the news media continued to report from the front lines. They recorded the shoot out as one of the brothers was killed and the other escaped capture. They actually filmed as SWAT teams went door to door looking for the at-large suspect. It seems like the live coverage could have hindered the search had the fleeing subject had access to CNN to see where they were looking for him.

In the end the man who perpetrated this act was apprehended and hopefully we will learn what led these brothers to carry out this terrorist attack. It is not the time for speculation or supposition.  We must allow the legal system to work as it was intended if we are ever to figure out why so that we can possibly keep it from happening ever again.

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