By Becky Perlow, CNN
Monday morning was supposed to be a slow day in news - a gun hearing here, maybe a senate presser there... until a bomb exploded at the Boston Marathon, injuring more than 100 people and killing three, including an 8-year-old boy.
The media raced to Boston, blanketing the city in TV anchors, cameramen and hand-held microphones. During this time, most media outlets began speculating as to the cause of the bombings - was it a terror attack? Was it domestic or foreign in nature? How many were hurt? As the investigation continued, several organizations (inducing CNN) faced criticism for incorrectly reporting news of an arrest, then later correcting it. Mediaite’s Joe Concha, The Washington Post's Erik Wemple, and Lauren Ashburn of The Daily Download join Howard Kurtz in our Washington DC studio to discuss the media's coverage - from Monday's breaking news to the on-going Boston manhunt and more. After our panel, Callie Crossley, host of WGBH radio's "Under the Radar with Callie Crossley," will join Howie from Boston to discuss media coverage on the ground.
USA Today's Christine Brennan will also join Howie in DC to discuss how the sports news world reacted to the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, including how sports journalists became breaking news reporters and how athletes became first responders.
One journalist didn't just report the Boston Marathon bombings - he actually ran the race and crossed the finish line 39 minutes before the first bomb exploded. The Washington Post's Vernon Loeb swings by the studio to share his experience about his 61st marathon race and what it was like reporting breaking news following a 26.2 mile run.
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I distinctly remember Wolf Blitzer promising "dramatic new developments when we return," only to see another re-hash of previously reported information (and speculation), presented as dramatically as possible, break after break, hour after hour. As a retired news person, I follow a considerable amount of media, and paid strict attention to the media coverage of this tragedy. In my opinion Aljazeera English, which I view online, provided the most accurate, informative and unbiased reporting. I fear that CNN is becoming a pandering, ratings-driven device to fatten the corporate shareholders' wallets.
I sadly admit that I watch at least ten hours of news each week, most of it CNN. I have been trying to wean myself of this amount for the betterment of my mental health. Now, I think I will just stick to 2 hours of news each week, which will be The Daily Show (not kidding) because of their hard hitting reporting coupled with their brilliant comedy and satire. I assume in a few days we will return to the apocalyptic threat that North Korea is; I am assuming that Kim Jong On has been on vacation. Hopefully, Mr. Kurtz will attack the media (CNN) for its fear-mongering on this issue and the so many others spoon fed to the gullible American public.
CNN has undergone changes lately in it's lineup. By far the best one to come on board CNN is Anthony Bourdain. He's the man and I am tailoring my viewing to mostly him and Piers Morgan. It's not healthy for anyone to consume so much news, but that is what the media organizations want from us. It's all about the almighty dollar, the bottom line, nothing else. Media for the masses.
I suspect many people are concerned about the extensive initial coverage on CNN and other stations that the suspects were "brown skin or black men". It turns out that this was wrong. When one of the people who joined Howard Kurtz on the show today (4/21/2013) brought up this rather sensitive issue, it was dispensed with by Howard Kurtz in a matter of two or three seconds. Why was there no discussion of how this widely aired and significant mistake occurred, or atleast an acknowledgement that how it occurred should be explored further?
That is a good question Dan. I was thinking a few days ago how often 'Breaking' gets used and I think it has lost a lot of it's meaning. When you look at Twitter, news is breaking every second in 'real time.' Not even close for cable news like CNN. CNN is facing major news challenges in staying relevant in this 24/7 news world when breaking news rolls across your PC in a twitter feed every second.
I as a Canadian viewer far from the incident. Agree so much is being reported on the bombers than the victoms .
Also very important they need to study the bomber, why and if he could reform and help others on the same path would be invaluable. But more focus on these victims would place any news reporter as a more trusted source or more reputable source, as they have 24hrs on what seems to focus on one subject, rather than more variety.
Lauren Ashburn says on Reliable Sources that if John King had been right instead of wrong about an arrest being made in the Boston bombings, he would be called a Hero. Really, so that's what it takes to become a Hero in America. Just a celebrity CNN infotainment guy getting the scoop first.
I agree with criticism of the delay for "content." It's news. Cover it or don't. As a former cop, however, I do get concerned about the possibility that live feeds could tip law enforcement's hand or endanger others.
Even today, I continue to hear reporters talk about "automatic" gunfire, yet all I could discern was semi-automatic fire. Nothing sounded like truly automatic fire.
I know it's live news, but I am amazed at how many times unchecked reporting turns our to be incorrect. CNN reporters last night reported that the suspect was taken away in a police squad – indicating light injuries – when in fact he was taken away by ambulance with "serious" injuries. In a rush to be "first," they sacrifice fact for spped.
And I sacrifice accurate keyboarding for speed! Sorry.
I no longer go to TV News with the cable networks like CNN as my main source of news. In many cases I have some of the information long before they get around to airing it, and that is through social media like Twitter. Main Stream media is losing in the media wars.
I was surprised when, during coverage of the manhunt in Boston, CNN informed viewers they would use a five second delay lest anything horrible be aired. Isn't that cleaning up the news?
I hope you are going to cover your own networks horrible missteps. (1) The network misreported the news, and (2) you had some horrible supposed terrorism expert woman on who did not want to ask any tough questions about what happened. People, like John King, should get fired over what happened.
i feel bad for the people who got injurd
CNN & other media should read this parody by the Onion:
BREAKING: Has The Word ‘Breaking’ Lost All Its Meaning?
News in Brief • Breaking News: Boston • News • ISSUE 49•16 • Apr 19, 2013
WATERTOWN, MA—Citing exhaustive use of the word “breaking” to preface media coverage of today’s ongoing manhunt for one of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers, The Onion is now questioning whether the word “breaking” has lost all its meaning. According to sources, the word ‘breaking’ has been used over 4,000 times across a variety of media platforms in the past 24 hours and has been repeatedly used to categorize news items related to the Boston Marathon bomber suspect that are not, in fact, substantively different from earlier reports, and thus not truly “breaking” by any traditional definition of that term. Acknowledging that 700 separate “breaking” news bulletins have been published since the beginning of this breaking news article, The Onion continues to wonder whether this word can ever be taken seriously again.
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Brian Stelter is the host of "Reliable Sources" and the senior media correspondent for CNN Worldwide. Before he joined CNN in November 2013, Stelter was a media reporter for The New York Times. He is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Top of the Morning."
Here's his biography. You can read his stories on this blog and at CNNMoney.com/Media/.
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