The Tucson shooting and questionable media credibility

Some of the biggest names in news have prematurely declared Rep. Giffords dead from the recent Arizona shooting rampage. At the moment, she is in critical condition, which naturally means she is alive.

Reliable Sources on CNN just did a mash-up of all the news coverage about her “death,” and were discussing how to prevent such poor reporting from happening. One journalist explained that in today’s world of new media and technology it is nearly impossible to wait for different and more important, sources, especially when your competitors are declaring something so breaking about a figure as  prominent as a US representative on national television.

For major news sources of our country, we depend more on television and the internet more than our local newspapers as our first immediate source of news and as something we wish we could trust completely. However, this colossal media mishap is a shot to ALL media credibility and should be looked at as a reminder to always question what we are told.

Just because major cable news sources such as CNN, FOX, Breaking News, and MSNBC report something to be true, it is important to remember that they have sources who have sources who have sources who could all get confused in the ever-so-popular game of telephone. As consumers of the media, we need to trust, but not fall toward naiveté with what we take in as fact, and what we should be weary about. We need to always question what we are told, formulate our own opinions, and wait for cold hard facts.

To the credit of CNN, doing this mash-up shows that the media industry is recognizing how harmful these mistakes can be to its credibility and how important it is to wait the extra 20 minutes until the facts are declared by the correct source.

“All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes,” – Winston Churchill


One response to “The Tucson shooting and questionable media credibility

  1. i remember looking through my twitter timeline during the shooting and all the news sources were going berserk with tweets. they all want to be the first to break the big news but like what you said, there is absolutely no harm to waiting before declaring someone dead. it was extremely bizarre to see Rep. Giffords die and come back to life within 15 mins (but i’m glad she’s alive and doing well!)

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