The rampant misreporting that follows shootings is so predictable On the Media made up a handy Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook. Below are some tips for how, “in the wake of a big, tragic story, you can sort good information from bad.”
They even made a handy, printable PDF that you can tape to your television or computer monitor the next time you encounter a big news event. In short:
- In the immediate aftermath, news outlets will get it wrong.
- Don’t trust anonymous sources.
- Don’t trust stories that cite another news outlet as the source of the information.
- There’s almost never a second shooter.
- Pay attention to the language the media uses.
- Look for news outlets close to the incident.
- Compare multiple sources.
- Big news brings out the fakers. And Photoshoppers.
- Beware reflexive retweeting. Some of this is on you.
These points are the short version. An expanded explanation of each point can be found here.
During the shooting yesterday in San Bernardino, California, a reporter Tweeted that one of the suspects was named Tayyeep bin Erdogan. Tayyip Erdogan is the President of Turkey.