In the opening scene of Steven Spielberg’s new film Munich, Spielberg shows footage of the media falsely reporting that all of the hostages had survived a rescue operation. It was only later that ABC’s Jim McKay would famously report, “They’re all gone.”
Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, the media reported horror stories of rampant rape and murder in the Superdome and Convention Center in New Orleans. Those rumors also turned out to be false.
Now, it appears that the media have made another terrible mistake. MB reader John B. wonders whether the media will hold itself accountable this time:
It will be interesting in the next few days to review the media reporting on the mine disaster and compare it with Katrina. In both cases, national media, working well outside of its comfort zone, adopted a herd approach and reported incorrectly rumor without the “strong” sourcing it nominally promises. Will anyone in the media draw this parallel? Not without some very strong push from the blogs.
, a startling look
at the front pages of today’s papers, almost all of which carry headlines declaring a “miracle” in West Virginia, including the New York Times
and the Washington Post
. Sure they were just reporting what they were told. But after so many screw-ups in the past, why didn’t it occur to any of them to wait until they were absolutely positive before running a story like this?
At least one man survived. It would have seemed like good news, if it hadn’t been for the mistaken reporting that preceded it.