Author: D.L Cade.
Date Published: Dec 14, 2012.
URL: http://www.petapixel.com/2012/12/14/media-publishes-wrong-facebook-photo-in-wake-of-tragic-shooting/ [Accessed 15/12/12]
Themes: Journalism, misreporting.
Summary of article:
Following the killing of 28 people in Newtown, Conneticut, the police mistakenly identified the shooter (really Adam Lanza) as his brother Ryan.
Many media outlets publicised this information, whether it be "...confirmed..." or just questioning, they published it nevertheless. When the mistake was found, they either corrected it or erased it altogether. During all of this, "Ryan and his friends immediately began taking to online social networks to explain the mixup and defend Ryan from the accusations..."
- The media took the first scrap of information, the supposed identity of a shooter, and publicised/canonised it worldwide.
- Fox News' article on the supposed shooter said that they had "...confirmed..." it, even though their assumption was based solely on a misidentification by police.
- The public used social media to hunt the suspect, while the accused tried desperately to plead his innocence.
- "Many of the initial reports had published the photograph with a question to the effect of, “Is this a photograph of the shooter?” When it turned out not to be, they simply published updates correcting their mistake..."
- "...for the thousands who saw and shared the photo, their minds may leave them no choice but to remember his [Ryan Lanza's] face in a negative light from here on out."
The article and the media's response to the event as a whole disturbingly correlates to my earlier findings that the media will take the possibility t entertain over facts. Essentially, the media, a tool to inform, did exactly what it does best; draw quick conclusions with no actual evidence. As if there are no 'fact-checkers' present. The media were very quick to report any leads/suspects related to the story, and when the media's assertions were proved false they erased all evidence or corrected it, but ultimately, the damage was done, and this will be something that will be with Ryan for the rest of his life; the initial suspect to a mass murder spree.