Holding the Media Accountable

If you’ve found this site, you probably saw my blog post here, and agree that the news media has gone too far with their reporting of the Connecticut massacre. I believe they should be held accountable. I believe they should know we won’t accept this level of so-called reporting.

If we wanted gossip, misinformation, untruths and outright fiction, there are places we can go to find it. We as a society trust the news media (a waning trust, to be sure) to report the news. The fact that it’s a huge responsibility has been lost to the 24-hour news cycle.

The rush to be first has long surpassed the responsibility to truth and accuracy. This must end.

I believe that we the people have the ability to not only send a message but to change the way that we accept our news. Together we have a power greater than the media will ever have. We have the power to hold them accountable and hit them where it hurts.

What is their main life source? Advertisers, ratings. Those depend fully on us as a people.

I think we should boycott any news organization that reported misinformation, gossip and untruths.

I think we should boycott any news organization that showed Ryan Lanza’s face or named him as the gunman.

I think we should boycott any news organization that exploited a child from that school – or tried to – for their own gain.

Name every organization that reported misinformation, untruths, outright fiction.

Name every news organization that added to the panic by reporting that there was a second gunman on the loose.

Name every news outlet that reported Ryan Lanza was the gunman. Name every news organization that exploited a child in this horrific event.

Name them all in the comments below. Include links if you’ve got them. And then, let’s start a conversation about how we, as a society, can respond and hold the news media accountable for reporting the news.

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9 thoughts on “Holding the Media Accountable

  1. Pingback: MSN.com acknowledges trouble with facts in Newtown story | HoldTheMediaAccountable

  2. Pingback: Hold the news media accountable | Savoir Faire

  3. Stephanie, I tried to comment on your real blog, but captcha’s not working. I think that it’s a much bigger issue than “we the people holding the press accountable”. Newtown coverage inaccuracies were horrible, but so were the two DJ’s that impersonated the Queen and caused the duped nurse to commit suicide. How about the secretly recorded videos of political candidates being recorded? What about public officials that deny, deny, deny, then apologize when they no longer have credibility? How many bankers were executed for their participation in the bank failures that ruined peoples’ lives? Seriously, if the death penalty were applied to lying, cheating, misrepresentation, even selfishness, these jerks might think before they took a chance.

    Seriously, I know that this is extreme, but the point is that Americans are becoming less offended, less involved and more self-centered. They don’t care about the American way of life, they only care about their way of life, and it weakens the country.

    I agree that the mainstream press is broken, but doesn’t it mirror mainstream society?

  4. This fourth-hand un-sourced hearsay appears in the NEW YORK TIMES:
    “Some former classmates said they had been told that Mr. Lanza had Asperger’s syndrome, which is considered a high-functioning form of autism.”
    This violates every tenet of basic journalism, and basic decency. Implying a mental condition based on hearsay? Implying ANYTHING based on pure hearsay from unnamed sources? Appalling. Here’s the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/nyregion/friends-of-gunmans-mother-his-first-victim-recall-her-as-generous.html?hp

    Also, CNN this afternoon broadcast a press conference from Kingston, NH, where Adam Lanza’s Uncle is a police officer. They broadcast the press conference while identifying Lanza’s uncle as the man speaking at the podium. In fact, it was NOT Lanza’s uncle at that podium whatsoever. No family members were even present at the press conference. It was a state official, who was reading a statement from the family member. The TV news keeps failing, over and over again, as this story unfolds… beyond embarrassing. Shameful.

  5. Fox News reported that the mother was a teacher at the school, killed in her classroom, as well as Ryan’s name as the shooter.
    CNN said that the father was killed at the family home in NJ, before the school incident. And that there was an accomplice.
    Both articles I read yesterday (via iPhone apps) have either been removed or modified to no longer include that info. I wish the media would stop rushing to get info out. If they’d have just said “There’s been a shooting at an elementary school and we don’t know how many victims at this point. We will get back to you as soon as we have more information to share.” there would be a whole lot less aggravation for many many people involved.
    And yes, LEAVE THE CHILDREN ALONE. They do not need cameras, microphones or reporters in their faces. Ever.

    • R: couldn’t agree more about the children. I think the victims and their families should be left alone by default. I saw someone post what I thought was an interesting idea on Facebook this weekend: set up a media corral and let those interested in commenting go to the media. Let those people OPT IN, not get bullied or steamrolled into giving soundbites.
      Also, isn’t it interesting that the apps simply removed the stories rather than noting that they were wrong, inaccurate or had been updated. That’s exactly the kind of accountability I would like to see. What if there was a scorecard online that tracked who got it right and who got it wrong on an ongoing basis. Wouldn’t THAT be interesting!

  6. ABC News (national), after 1 pm on the day of the shooting, posted active stories on their website describing a police manhunt for a second gunman. As we all know, this was pure fiction, drawn from the culling of circumstantial evidence and a rush to be first with any “news.” It was not helpful to the public, and in fact may have been harmful. The equivalent of screaming “fire” in the middle of an already tense situation. ABC News has continued to write subjectively about the shooters’ family and mental condition, based on information from unnamed sources, in what can only be described as gossip and conjecture rather than journalism. There was a time when ABC was a big network to be trusted, back in the Peter Jennings days, etc. This is all just shameful.

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