It wasn't noted on my wall calendar, but apparently today was National Bad Reporting Day.
Around noon today an Arizona congressman was holding an event to meet with constituents and a nut shot her and quite a few other people. What followed was a textbook example of lousy journalism in action. Whether out of a competitive desire to be first or out of reflexive assumptions based on inherent biases reporting and commenting the rest of the days was inaccurate at best and intentionally false and misleading at its worst.
The number of people shot went from five to eleven to ten within a half hour. Last number I heard was eighteen. Hey, get it that counting is hard - like math. Here is an idea if you don't know the correct answer say something vague, such as several, a bunch, dozens, etc.
Worse than getting the number wrong was reporting that the congressman, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was deceased when she was still alive. NPR and several other outlets reported she had died. A few hours later I'm in my car hearing a doctor talk about being optimistic about her chances after surgery. Dead or alive is a pretty deal to get wrong. How many of her friends and family heard the incorrect report of her dying?
The last part of the lousy reporting/commenting was the rush to speculate on the motivation for the criminal to attack the congressman and others in the crowd. Rep. Giffords is a Democrat so immediately those on the left decided it must be a right wing tea party activist motivated by the rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and Sarah Palin. Unfortunately, for those attempting to advance that nonsense, the killer appears to have been a leftist Obama supporter who probably has never listened to Limbaugh's show. Disgusting.
Prayers go out for those shot and their families.
Condemnation goes out for those who rushed to use this crime for political gain and for those in the media who enable that action.
Last point on this issue: When a Muslim Army officer yelled Alluh Akbar shot a bunch of people at Fort Hood all of the media was quick to say it wrong to rush to judgment about what might motivate him to do such an act. They are terrified of the idea of identifying Islamic radicalism even when it's obvious. No evidence is necessary to connect a crazed shooter with tea party folks mostly concerned with government spending. What made it even less likely that the shooter was a right winger is the fact that Rep Giffords is a relatively conservative Democrat. She is pro-life, for greater border security and recently voted for someone besides Nancy Pelosi to lead the House Dems.
Labels: Arizona, Giffords