News Outlets Stumble Again On Shooter Reports
Perhaps the gossip and news blog Gawker was on to something when it headlined an article about coverage of the Navy Yard shootings on Monday, Next Time, Just Ignore the Breaking News. Gawker was referring to the latest series of erroneous reports connected with a major event -- beginning with word that three shooters had originally been identified as responsible for the attack which left 13 dead including the shooter, then, when a lone gunman was identified, the name of another man was broadcast on NBC and CBS -- later retracted, but not before the name spread over the twitterverse. He was also variously described as a civilian contractor or a member of the Navy. The Associated Press sent out an advisory pulling two photos because, it said, it has been unable to confirm that the incident shown in this picture is directly connected with the shootings. Then, when a man threw lit firecrackers over a fence at the White House, Fox News's Bret Baier reported that someone pulled a weapon of some type and gunmen have engaged this person. Said Gawker, which itself has admittedly released some erroneous reports in the heat of a breaking story: Look, next time this happens, just Shelter in Place, informationally. The thing about the people on television, especially, is that they have no clue, zero, what's actually happening. Bloggers don't either, but at least we're not stuck trying to fill live airtime, staring out at an audience that wants to know the facts that we don't have, right now.