Many Media Carried Erroneous Reports On Giffords Shooting


How did many elements of the news media erroneously report that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was killed Saturday by a gunman at a congressional listening session in Tucson? Said NPR spokesperson Anna Christopher: “At two o'clock, we had two sources [saying] that the congresswoman died, the Pima County Sheriff's office and a congressman's office, and we went with those in good faith. Soon after, as we started reporting more, we reported that she had not been killed, and we regret the erroneous news.” says that CNN, Fox News, and other television outlets followed suit in the minutes after 2 p.m., and the New York Times carried the incorrect reporting briefly, citing NPR and CNN as sources. Half an hour later, hospital officials told MSNBC that she was alive and in surgery, and within minutes the cable networks and the Times had pulled back their reports. The wildly diverging reports reflected the challenges of breaking large and sensitive news in a high-pressure, 24-hour news cycle, said NPR's media reporter David Folkenflik on his Twitter feed. “What we're seeing is the process of reporting breaking news, at times shakily, in real time,” Folkenflik wrote. “Before cable & web, this would have played out far more out of sight. Doesn't exempt journalists from having to report w great care.”

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