For the love of Edward R. Murrow...

...I beg you all to stop it.

• The Sandy Hook principal's photo is not being re-used in Boston. She really died at Sandy Hook and you're looking at photo manipulation.

• The young man bent over the woman's body in Boston was not mourning his dead fiancee. They were strangers and he was comforting the victim.

• There was no little girl running in honor of Sandy Hook killed in the blast; the Boston Marathon does not allow children to run.

• Race organizers are not donating money for retweets; that was some cretin's idea of a prank.

• The Facebook page in memory of the bombing was not created in advance of the blasts.

• The so-called "fake" victim who lost his legs in Afghanistan is not the same person as the man seen wheeled to an ambulance with severe leg trauma. They are two different men, and both have lost their legs, and neither of them is "fake."

• They didn't shut down the cell network; there is no cell "kill switch." Systems were, instead, overwhelmed by massive numbers of people calling.

• The TV show Family Guy did not eerily predict the bombing; that clip has been doctored because some asshole thought it was funny.

• The Saudi national injured in the blast had no connection to it except being one of its victims. He is a scholarship student here on a legitimate visa, described as a "quiet geek" who was hospitalized while police grilled his friends and searched his apartment. His only crime, it turns out, is having a Middle Eastern name.

• There is no "photo of the suspect!" that has been confirmed by anyone in authority. That picture of the man in the turban kneeling in a park has nothing to do with anything. Nor does the picture of the man on the roof or the guy in the red ski mask. Some of those photos are coincidental and others are from entirely different events.

• Yes, letters tainted with ricin were sent to President Obama and, weirdly, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi. They appear to be postmarked Memphis and there may have been other letters found as well. There is NO evidence that they are connected to Boston, and no evidence that they aren't, either. It could also be a false positive; that happens about once a year.

• As of the moment of this writing, no one is in custody. Hopefully that will change soon.

For all of you complaining and screaming about what a terrible job the press is doing - and trust me, I've had plenty of reason to yell at CNN this week - you're doing an even worse job double-checking before you repost something. Not so easy on the fact-checking? At least you've at least got Snopes et al working for you, pointing out the rampant piles of bullshit floating around this week.

For the newsfolks, here's a hint: If your broadcast consists entirely of reporters interviewing each other, you're just screwing around because you don't have anything real to report. If your "big scoop" consists of an unnamed source "close to the investigation," you don't have anything real to report. Now would be a good time to stick to a policy of "no unidentified sources." I know, it's like candy to you, but there's a reason we don't fucking use them: if they won't put their name on the line, you can't be sure they know dick-all about the subject. Be right. Then be first. It's really not that hard; many of us have been practicing this policy for a long damn time and it seems to be working out pretty well.

But I'm not letting the rest of you off the hook, people. If it sounds too crazy to be true, it probably is. If it requires believing in a vast unnameable conspiracy involving thousands of law enforcement personnel lying their asses off more than hunting for the bomber(s), it's probably bullshit. In fact, let's all adopt that policy, shall we? For now, whatever it is, it's probably bullshit. And yes, it does hurt when you repost it on your page or retweet it with "isn't this crazy?"

So, for the sake of all that is holy and decent in this great land of ours, for the time being... CAN IT. Stow the finger-pointing and smartass memes and brilliant conjecture and wild-ass conspiracy theories; there will be plenty of time for us all to be assholes to each other later. For now, let law enforcement do their damn jobs, let the press do theirs (stern looks), choose your sources wisely and stop re-posting crap without checking it first.

And that goes for you too, CNN.

Comments

  1. AMEN! If all the news followed the same principles you do, I might actually read/watch more of it.

    ~Faith

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you!!! Thank you! Thank you! I am sick of people not checking the accuracy of what they share on facebook. It is inflamatory and ignorant to post incorrect stuff...

    ReplyDelete

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