Staff Editorial: National media ethics in question

Coming from one form of media to the biggest names in news: You should be ashamed of yourselfs.

It has been a terrible week in this country, highlighted by the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon. As you probably know by now, two crudely made bombs exploded near the finishing mile on a day of civic pride in one of Amercia’s greatest cities.

Yet when attemping to find factual, newsworthy coverage of the aftermath, we instead had to deal with wild speculation from “pundits” on the news networks of our nation.

How does it reflect on country’s media when the two best outlets for breaking news about the bombings on television are from another country (BBC) and a sports network (ESPN)?

The sad part is that was only the tip of the iceberg. The next day CNN erroneously reported there was an arrest of a suspect in the bombing. The Associated Press and Fox News also ran stories confirming the CNN report, yet within the hour all three had retracted their stories after officials stated no arrests had been made.

CNN even disgracefully followed up its regrettable error by quoting additional sources about how there WASN’T an arrest and made a story out of it in hopes of television ratings.

Making incorrect reports in breaking news happens. We’ve done it here at the O’Colly. Every media company has. The goal is to learn from mistakes and move on.

This story is different. This is a terrorist attack on our country where lives were loss and hundreds were injured. For stories such as this, getting the accurate facts before publishing or broadcasting is more important than being “first.”

The downfall of television news isn’t anything new. Fox News and MSNBC have been journalistic jokes for years, acting as talking heads for political parties more than their mottos of “fair and balanced” and “lean forward.”

After Tuesday’s fiasco, it’s time to add CNN to the group of uncredible television news outlets. It is clear it apparently wants to join Fox News and MSNBC in creating ratings more than presenting the truth. We sympathize with individual journalists such as Anderson Cooper who worked tirelessly to present the truth, yet one person cannot hold up the reputation of a median.

And shame on you too, Associated Press. America’s most credible print service also acted carelessly in its reporting Tuesday.

This week was a black eye for the media in this country. Next time get it right before getting it first.

 

opinion@ocolly.com