TODAY'S QUESTION: Has your perception of the media changed after a false report said Gabrielle Giffords died?

Monday, January 10, 2011 | 1:35 p.m. CST; updated 3:58 p.m. CST, Monday, January 10, 2011

"Ariz. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords died after being shot in the head after a gunman opened fire at a meeting with voters Saturday."

As we now know, this report was wrong, and Giffords is alive but in critical condition.

Appearing to be one the first news organizations to break news on the shooting, National Public Radio reported in its newscast — and to subscribers in e-mail alerts — that Giffords had died.

Under pressure to get the word out too, other news organizations followed suit and reported Giffords supposed death as well.

In today’s media environment, news organizations have the dilemma of timing and accuracy. In efforts to reports the news faster, mistakes become more likely.

Given the false report of Giffords’ death, has your perception of the media changed?

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Keener Tippin January 10, 2011 | 2:21 p.m.

The erroneous reporting doesn't change my perception of the media -- I understand it is a by-product of the world in which we live in today and the need to be first in reporting or getting the information out -- by I find it sad that one of the tenets of journalism, accuracy, is a victim of the collateral damage brought on by this need to be first, the cable and Internet news organizations, etc.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 10, 2011 | 2:43 p.m.

No, my perception has not changed.
But, it wasn't a very good perception in the first place, either.

I published this yesterday on a related Missourian article (which is missing in action); it had to do with the news media "learning a lesson" in connection with "being first and being wrong":

A "lesson" must be learned; otherwise there is no use for the "lesson".

I doubt it has been learned; there is no motivation to learn it.

Why? Well, Dan Rather answered that question: ""The pressure is immediate and almost crushing on you and your news organization to match that..."

The news isn't about news's about money. It's about fame and fortune, Pulitzers, being first, and viewership and their subscriptions...all shrouded under an apologetic and defensive First Amendment umbrella.

Then, Levinson says, ""We can't get away from the fact that reporters are human beings..."They do their best. There will be errors at institutions like this."

Indeed. It's too bad the industry doesn't remember this when politicians and CEOs are involved, but it gets collective amnesia when their own ox is gored.

Who protects us from monetarily-motivated users of the First Amendment, anyway?

I think a certain amount of responsibility goes along with claiming the holy, protected mantle of the First Amendment. INO, if you claim the personal and professional purity of such a mantle, then all policies of being "first", making more money, or gaining fame and fortune or a better job by writing a Pulitzer should be of SECONDARY priority. Speed leads to error...even when reporting news.

So, journalists, make up your mind which you want to be. Do you want to be considered "pure", a top-notched NEWSPERSON, slowing down and getting it right before going public, or do you just want to throw news on the wall as fast as you can and see what sticks?

I don't think you can have it both ways...even tho you say you try. You can't. You are human, too, or so folks say.

(Report Comment)
Gerald Shelnutt January 12, 2011 | 4:31 p.m.

Most people get their news off the idiot box, the print media trying to compete with that makes mistakes.

I view tv as intertainment (this includes the so called news) I would like for the print media to do a better job but to date things seem to be going the other way.

Answer no my view of the media did not change but it is fairly low to begin with.

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