17 April 2013

Rumor mongering vs. journalism

Today was a bad day for journalism.

All afternoon I saw headlines announcing that a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing was in custody and was headed to a courthouse.

Those reports appear to have originated with the AP. And those reports were dismissed by the officials who would know.

So the real truth is far less satisfying. But I'm proud that I didn't jump on the bandwagon that perpetuated the rumor.

In my very first college-level journalism course, I was taught to question everything. Indeed, the professor said: "Check everything out for yourself. If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out!"

While I'm sure that many AP reporters have mothers who really do love them, they need to stop taking other things for granted.

And the blame doesn't stop with the AP. Every news organization that forwarded the false report is equally to blame.

Shame on all of them!

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