Restraint Marks Latest Bombing Coverage
The news media were scrambling early today (Friday) to piece together information about two brothers, Tamerlan Tsarnayev, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnayev, 19, who were identified as suspects in Monday's bombings during the Boston Marathon and the fatal shooting of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus police officer Thursday night. (Tamerlan Tsarnayev was also killed during the MIT confrontation.) The identifications drew attention away from growing criticism of the media for their unapologetic slapdash reports in the wake of the bombings. CNN, which had reported early on that a suspect had been arrested, citing three sources, eventually corrected its report but failed to issue a regret the error statement, as is usually SOP in such instances. Politico.com recalled that in times passed, a wrong report on a story the whole world was watching would have produced major repercussions _ groveling apologies from reporters and editors, journalism seminars on the dangers of letting rumor outpace fact, and maybe even a few firings at the outlets involved. Not so today, it noted. Craig Silverman, who operates the RegretTheError.com website, commented, It's disturbing that news organizations commit major errors and then refuse to own up to them. But no one was more merciless in his attack than Comedy Central's Jon Stewart, who denounced the CNN coverage as completely f**king wrong. Thursday night's coverage was something different, however. As Deadline.com's Nikki Finke commented, This time around, the emphasis was on live action and little speculation as obviously chastened news channels made sure to pin down facts before reporting them. However, Mediaite columnist Tommy Christopher noted that CNN was left to fill time by asking vapid questions to experts. Referring to suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose friends depicted him positively, CNN's Chris Cuomo asked terrorism expert Phil Mudd, How can you be a good person and a terrible person at the same time? Commented Christopher, Unfortunately, Cuomo did not go on to ask Mudd how it is possible to have a 'Jumbo shrimp,' or whether God can make a cable news segment so inane that he can't watch it.