Thursday, June 20, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: UM, SORRY. OUR SOURCES WERE WRONG

On the information super highway littered with Twitter, 24-hour channels and reporters
falling all over themselves to get the scoop, there have been some major catastrophes lately.
Who can forget John King of CNN telling the world on live television that a suspect had been arrested in the Boston Marathon bombing case? He also described the suspect as "light, black-
skinned male." A city on edge exhaled and was relieved that law enforcement officials had
a dangerous person in custody. Oops! King was dead wrong and had all kinds of nasty egg
on his face.

Media reports were also way off the mark in the Newtown shooting tragedy. At first, Ryan
Lanza was identified as the shooter and in the frenzy of the breaking news, he supposedly shot
his father in New Jersey, then travelled to Newtown, entered the elementary school, and shot
his mother who was working as a substitute teacher there. Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong
again.

Journalism and the broadcast media have definitely changed over the years. The motto had
always been 'get it right.' But that seems to have morphed into 'be first, be fast, and worry about
the facts later.' Accountability? Non-existent. Credibility? That's hilarious. All these local stations
are so anxious to say, "As Fox 88 reported first...." and have their promotions department make
a glitzy commercial bragging about their scoop, they lose sight of the most important thing and
that's getting it right.

As all of Boston, New England, and a good part of the country is focused on the homicide case
involving Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, the media is being reckless with their facts again, all
in an effort to be first, fast, and compelling.


On Thursday morning, multiple media reports, citing the always concrete unidentified "sources",
said that Hernandez was likely to be arrested some time during the day. Better get a Snickers,
because were not going anywhere for a while. It still has yet to happen.

After there was a lull in activity, reports, according to "sources",  surfaced that Hernandez had
a cleaning company "scrub down" his house on Monday. In addition, according to "sources",
the attorney for Hernandez turned over a cell phone to authorities that was "in pieces." Finally,
a surveillance system was, "according to sources", destroyed.

And just as in the Boston bombing case and Newtown tragedy, the public bought into everything
it read, heard, and saw on television and the Internet. They read about the cellphone, "scrub
down", and a surveillance system that was destroyed, and figured, hell, if it's on the news,  it
must be true. LOL. Don't people ever learn? Why do we believe everything we hear?


First of all,  do you think a 23-year old man making four million dollars a year  is going to
clean his own house? Is it possible that he has a cleaning service come in every Monday
to spit-shine the entire house? Do you think paying them 75 bucks is a big deal for a guy living
in a multimillion dollar home? How many people do you know making 4 million dollars a
year, clean their own house? Give me a break. That could've been a total coincidence.

Why is a cell phone given to the police "in pieces" significant? All law enforcement officials
have to do is subpoena the cell phone records of Hernandez and they have everything they
need. Time of phone calls and who they were from or went to. They don't need a cell phone
in tact to determine that. Right, I guess they just wanted to see the pictures of Hernandez flexing
in the mirror. Who hasn't dropped their cell phone and seen it come apart in three different
pieces? This report about the phone "in pieces" is irrelevant.


As for the surveillance system,  there is a chance it wasn't even put together or even
functional. If Hernandez wanted to get rid of it, he could've done that easily. What, do you
think he's dumb enough to take a baseball bat to it and just leave it there in a million pieces
for the police to find?

The police haven't released any statements and I don't think any on them are allowed to be
on twitter to tell the world what they've discovered. Yes, there are some reporters who have
"sources" within the police departments who get tidbits, but there aren't many law enforcement
officials who are going to jeopardize the investigation or their careers to give a reporter a
"scoop". Most police officials detest the media anyway, and are never in the mood to help
them out.

Local stations and networks have camped outside of Hernandez' house. Helicopters are
shadowing his every move and reporters are stalking him at the gas station. It's insane! But
it's all about ratings and getting the compelling shot and story---even if it's wrong. It seems
that many of these stations and networks, in an effort to keep up with the competition, just
throw stuff up on the wall and hope it sticks. If they're wrong, to hell with it.

I'm waiting for the day when  an anchor opens the show by saying, "Our bad, we were wrong,
we got our facts terribly wrong. Our "sources" sucked. We apologize." Fat chance of that
happening. News stations never want to bring bad attention to themselves or admit they
were wrong.

But the public will just continue to buy what they are selling, because if they say it, it must
be true, which in this day and age, couldn't be further from the truth.

1 comment:

  1. Bravo Paul......I'm glad someone in the media gets it and has the decency to get it right whether you"re first, second, or last. Sometime I am ashamed to work in the media.

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