Don't Base Death Reports On Secondary Sources: NPR's Simon


Scott Simon, host of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, and a close friend of Rep. Gabrelle Giffords (D-AZ), has criticized his own network for wrongly reporting that Giffords had died in the shooting on Jan. 8, reports NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepherd. On the day it happened, Simon phoned the NPR news desk and was told the information was based on “confirmation” from the Pima County Sheriff's department and a congressional source.

“I couldn't fathom how cops or pols would know more than the hospital,” said Simon. “Two sources who are not in a position to know something are not reliable sources.” Adds Simon: “There should be no room for doubt when a news organization declares someone dead. They should wait until the medical authorities directly involved declare death, or close family members announce it. There is simply no way that anyone else—not local police, not witnesses, not 'two governmental sources'—would be in a position to know for certain especially when there are now, between respiration and brain activity, at least a couple of medical gauges of death.”


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