Rep. Giffords

News of Rep. Gifford's death, then lack thereof, circulated the news sites.

I don’t know whether Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will ultimately pull through and live or not, but I know that the mere fact that she is alive must be nothing short of a modern day miracle. For what was over an hour, if not two, she was dead today. This, according to the journalistic efforts of new outlets such as MSNBC.com, who started sending me breaking news alerts of her death. Within hours, I received yet another breaking news alert indicating that a surgeon thinks she will live; while the headline on MSNBC.com remained that she had died.

My rant here is not about her death, or lack thereof. This was a tragic event–one that no American should ever embrace. The fact that a 22 year-old man shot her and killed five or more other people, including a nine year old girl, at a political speech in a parking lot is dispicable. While the event in and of itself is horrible, it is magnified by shotty journalism, which is what I really feel like ranting about. Journalism in the United States has turned from telling the story to making the story. Journalists no longer need to have facts or know the truth — it is merely a race for ratings. Be the first to report a story and put a notch in your belt. Who cares if the story is right or wrong; just be the first to report it.

msnbc

MSNBC broke false news about Rep. Gifford's fate.

I see no signs anymore on MSNBC.com that Rep. Giffords is, or was, dead. The headlines were wiped and the story vanished into the abyss after learning that she has lived. I don’t know if the reporter, editor, publisher, or anyone else will pay for reporting bogus news, but in the end, it no longer matters. Regardless of which news site you get your breaking news from, chances are they are making, not breaking, the news. And this, my friends, is a major problem. Sadly, a problem I don’t see going away anytime soon.

Dan Rather

One would think journalists would have learned from Dan Rather's firing. But they didn't.

Flashback to Dan Rathers, who was fired from CBS for reporting false information about former President Bush’s military service. A “big gun” took a bullet. Other media outlets would certainly learn from the event, wouldn’t they? Apparently not, as today, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was killed. Then was alive. Just leaves us to wonder if it was a born-again experience– a modern day miracle, or was it journalism at it’s worst. I think the latter.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Rep. Giffords and all of the victims of today’s horrid tragedy in Arizona. I pray for speedy recovery of those who did not perish, and for the familes and friends of those who did. I don’t yet know if this was a politically motivated shooting, as I suspect it was, but there is no justification ever for turning to violence. I probably don’t support much of what Rep. Gabrielle Giffords stands for politically, but I will turn to my keyboard and never to a gun. I do wish outrage over shotty media would prevail and those reporting the news would do just that: report it, don’t make it.

–RE

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