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A Critique of the Boston Bombing News Coverage (Video)

Roblimo posted about a year and a half ago | from the horrible-but-not-terrifying-in-a-free-society dept.

Media 175

David Coursey has spent a lot of his life as a journalist, specializing in IT coverage for most of it. He's written for ZDNet and eWeek, Forbes, and other well-known publications, and has had his stories linked from Slashdot more than a few times over the years. What he is not as well known for is his expertise as an EMT, a field he has been in as both a volunteer and professional since the rocks in California (where he lives) were still soft enough that the Flintstones used them as pillows. He and I were chatting on Facebook yesterday, and I realized that David's views on media coverage of the recent Boston Marathon bombings might be worth sharing. Do you think what he's saying is valid? Do you agree or disagree with him? Or some of each?

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Points at David Coursey (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43486959)

Hideki!

Re:Points at David Coursey (-1, Offtopic)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487045)

Die in a fire, chobit.

Points at fire (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487221)

Hideki!

The big rush (4, Insightful)

Rurik (113882) | about a year and a half ago | (#43486963)

We need a story now, quick. We need something to put on airtime because our marketing is calling around our advertising clients to see who wants to bid on the next hour of airtime. The big need to get something up quick, even if it's very low quality, such as a poorly recorded video interview without a transcript... oh, wait...

Re:The big rush (2)

peragrin (659227) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487183)

Oh you forgot, we need to be the first so screw fact checking by calling the police dept to see if they actually arrested any one and just run the story that they did arrest someone based on unconfirmed rumor.

Re:The big rush (4, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487211)

Can we get a story critiquing the critiques of news coverage? Then a round of critiques of those? How do I know which critique to pay attention to when the critique critiques aren't out yet?

Re:The big rush (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487539)

Look at you, demanding a big rush to critique the critiques.

We should all just put blinders on and completely ignore the events happening around us. Future generations can investigate and critique them.

Re:The big rush (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487321)

I saw one story in the newspaper that was just a list of times of who reported what and who was first with what. Read like a re cap of a football game.

Re:The big rush (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487459)

We need a story now, quick. We need something to put on airtime because our marketing is calling around our advertising clients to see who wants to bid on the next hour of airtime. The big need to get something up quick, even if it's very low quality, such as a poorly recorded video interview without a transcript... oh, wait...

Back on Sept 11, 2001, the media were far worse. Network and news outlets on television and the web were trying to outbid each other on the body count. 5,000, 15,000, could be has high as 40,000. Really appalling. They didn't know what else to do in their own confusion, but play the horrifying videos over and over and try to make the whole thing as grim as they could, to keep viewers glued and ultimately numbing them.

I have a book with collections of newspaper front pages from December 7, 8, 9 ... 1941. Back in that day the news focused on what was known, body counts were off the pages for the first few days and then only included known dead. The final tally wasn't truly known in the news for almost one year. News moved slower, people gave themselves more time to think.

The idiocy of the AP running a rumor of an arrest and showing how quick every other outlet is willing to parrot this and seek confirmation later, showed what a swarm of locusts mentality there is in the media these days.

Re:The big rush (1)

Delarth799 (1839672) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487585)

I remember a quote from a while back that said "We don't have reporters these days, only stenographers" Which is true more and more each day. Almost nobody fact checks anymore they just spew it out as fast as they can write it down. Sure some of the more local places are better but the bigger news companies its getting rarer and rarer.

Re:The big rush (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487637)

We went through similar reporting in the UK on the tube/bus bombings. I watched that reporting as it happened, on two channels at once - not because I care to be that up-to-date, but because the reporting itsself interested me. Sky News and BBC. Both reported a lot of things which were soon after revealed to be false - varying estimates not just for the casualties, but the number of bombs!

This is what the public seems to demand now. News reporting just seconds behind events, from the front line, as it happens. That means there isn't time to check facts. If a station stops to check facts, a competitor will report things first.

If you want to see some really interesting 'reporting' try the biased sites and internet news. Plenty of speculation reporting as fact there, and an effective industry of 'experts' who can be interviewed to say anything on anything. The leading groundless speculation right now is that this must be an Al Quida attack, on the grounds that the bombs were constructed using pressure cookers as components, and some Al Quida bombs in the past have used pressure cookers too. That, and a middle-eastern-looking bearded man was seen in the crowd on some mobile phone footage. The conclusion may be correct, but the reasoning isn't.

Re:The big rush (4, Insightful)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487733)

This is what the public seems to demand now.

No. Just no.

The public would like the facts, as quickly as possible.

The news media only listened to the second half of that sentence. Much like their reporting.

Re:The big rush (3, Interesting)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43488513)

The public would like the facts, as quickly as possible.

The news media only listened to the second half of that sentence. Much like their reporting.

That's because the second half of that sentence is effectively the important one. It's difficult to tell if a report is the facts. But it's easy to tell if it's first.

Re:The big rush (1)

Bigby (659157) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487673)

That is because there is still an attitude that what you say isn't "etched in stone". When you write it, it is "etched in stone". So with newspapers, they were careful for their own credibility. Someone could always go back and prove you were wrong. Although you can do the same thing with video and even measure context better with video, that attitude doesn't seem to prevail. We as a society seam to expect fallacy in video.

Re:The big rush (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487761)

That is because there is still an attitude that what you say isn't "etched in stone". When you write it, it is "etched in stone". So with newspapers, they were careful for their own credibility. Someone could always go back and prove you were wrong. Although you can do the same thing with video and even measure context better with video, that attitude doesn't seem to prevail. We as a society seam to expect fallacy in video.

Maybe not etched in stone, but etched in something more permanent - the internet. Somewhere I have a printscreen from November, 2000, proclaiming Al Gore as the next president of the United States. I know it didn't last on ther page for long, but I saved it. I have it somewhere.

Re:The big rush (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43488527)

How about the Obamacare decision, where they initially reported it had been struck down?

Re:The big rush (-1)

s.petry (762400) | about a year and a half ago | (#43488059)

The easy mark to look at is the money involved. Is it really about the money, or is it about propaganda? If you investigate things about 911 and look into building 7, the lack of plane debris in PA and the Pentagon, you really should be questioning whether it's really all about money. Look at the lack of coverage on Obama signing the NDAA on any major media, the lack of coverage on the dozens of wars we are waging, the lack of coverage on drone strikes in the middle east. I'll add the lack of coverage regarding Egypt, the specific comments every major media outlet has regarding Syria and North Korea.

I found this [naturalnews.com] article interesting at least, and they point out that main stream media never even mentions these guys.

Obviously CNN failed and has become a joke, but Fox/NBC and ABC are just as bad. Either they make shit up or tell you nothing. The Daily Show showed what most of us think of CNN last night.

Yeah yeah, here come the "you are just a conspiracy theorist" comments. Anyone that asks a question, or suggests that people ask questions, must be crazy because the media told you so.

Re:The big rush (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | about a year and a half ago | (#43488585)

If you don't like it, use non-profit news outlets. I do not use for-profit news sources anymore (CNN, etc.).

Sites like /. don't count - they're not really news sites per se, they're more aggregators, and focus on specific niche areas - I'm talking more in the scope of general daily news sources.

Worst. Coverage. Ever. (5, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | about a year and a half ago | (#43486977)

Coverage has been one completely bogus claim after another, always from unnamed sources.

Blast from second floor inside building. Oh wait, no it wasn't.
Two bombs placed in trash cans. Oh wait, no they weren't.
Authorities have found and "blown up" a number of other bombs. Oh wait, no they haven't.
A dark skinned suspect has been arrested. Oh wait, there is no such suspect.

Re:Worst. Coverage. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487163)

A dark skinned suspect has been arrested. Oh wait, there is no such suspect.

You meant Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi doesn't exist? Or that he was never suspected of anything? True he wasn't actually arrested, but his visa was revoked and he's being deported.

The police also water cannoned a number of suspected bombs that turned out to be nothing. When I heard the reports of "other bombs" being water cannoned I knew it was the normal over protection.

Re:Worst. Coverage. Ever. (1, Troll)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487313)

In police speak, everyone's a suspect until cleared. And he's been cleared. He was suspected because he was there and brown. He's connected, so like the Saudi family evacuated during the no-fly period after 9/11, we treat them like royalty. But he's been officially cleared of all suspicion. He was never arrested. For all we know, it was a hit against Saudi royalty with him as the target, and they are "deporting" him because that was the request of the Saudi Royal Family. There are no facts, no public releases, and no arrests. We only know what the conservative media spoon feeds us, or talk-shows tell us are "unconfirmed rumors we'll treat as true until proven otherwise, then go into the conspiracy to cover up the facts if anything we say is wrong."

Re:Worst. Coverage. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43488123)

In police speak, everyone's a suspect until cleared.

No. "Suspect" has a pretty specific meaning, and they're always very careful to call them "people of interest" until they actually have a sufficiently coherent story to call them suspects. This lesson was deeply ingrained by Richard Jewell, during that other terrorist attack.

Re:Worst. Coverage. Ever. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43488381)

He was never officially a suspect, but was he suspected? So they never had a suspect, nor any suspect in custody, and CNN reported an arrest, when there was no arrest. When the police refuse to comment, the news will report random guesses. The conservative talk shows are reporting he was "arrested" and often defining arrest differently than the police. Then highlight the special treatment he's getting, armed escort out of the country at taxpayer expense, and such. He was reported to be under armed guard (possibly protective custody, possibly arrest, possibly being in a room near the guards, as all the hospitals were on heightened security.

Nobody knows anything, and the police, not liking to say "we haven't a clue" say things like "we are investigating all leads" and people see police next to a brown man and leap to conclusions.

Re:Worst. Coverage. Ever. (1)

fnj (64210) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487405)

You meant Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi doesn't exist? Or that he was never suspected of anything? True he wasn't actually arrested, but his visa was revoked and he's being deported.

I wouldn't be too sure about that. There is a lot of backtracking going on over that. "He's going to be deported; oh wait, maybe not". [beforeitsnews.com]

"Now, it seems that the man is completely innocent of any wrongdoing." [gather.com]

The police also water cannoned a number of suspected bombs that turned out to be nothing. When I heard the reports of "other bombs" being water cannoned I knew it was the normal over protection.

Yeah, I realized the wording of those reports was completely clueless. I hardly think the procedures were "over protection", but clearly all that was being done was figuratively poking stuff with a long long stick to see if it would blow up - in an abundance of caution - SOP.

Re:Worst. Coverage. Ever. (1)

Bigby (659157) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487353)

Many of them can probably be explained by the tried and true game of telephone. While they didn't blow up other bombs, they blew up suspected bombs. That would account for (1) and (3). The bombs had metal fragments, so a 1st responder was probably like "were these in a trash can?". An innocent mistake, as at least one was in a pressure cooker (2).

I don't know about (4), but they did ask a whole lot of people questions...I'm sure one was "dark skinned".

Re:Worst. Coverage. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487395)

A person on the just released FBI video on Foxnews wearing a light blue jacket carrying a white box with pink ribbon and three or so balloons attached was blurred in video. Immediately following the first blast, I observed "two yellow balloons" flying upwards from extreme close proximity to that blast on TV news coverage. Maybe that person was a victim, but its not clear if (she?) was blurred in video to protect identity or maybe ruled out as being involved.

Re:Worst. Coverage. Ever. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487643)

Oh wait, there is no such suspect.

http://www.fbi.gov/news/updates-on-investigation-into-multiple-explosions-in-boston/updates-on-investigation-into-multiple-explosions-in-boston

Re:Worst. Coverage. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487719)

A dark skinned suspect has been arrested. Oh wait, there is no such suspect.

FBI just released pix of two guys wanted for questioning, and they're both lily-white [nbcnews.com]

Dunno. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43486983)

Why not ask us again in a day or two (when the transcript is ready).

Re:Dunno. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487411)

Because most of us aren't using hp48's to browse slashdot?

Jon Stewart Said It Well (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year and a half ago | (#43486989)

I can't seem to play the video and there's no transcript but I was impressed with Jon Stewart's drawing and quartering of CNN's coverage [gawker.com] . He hit the nail on the head of what "journalistic integrity" has fallen to. Jon Stewart was saying CNN had an 'exclusive' story on the arrest ... exclusive because there was no arrest.

Get on Twitter, say some stuff that sounds legit. Sit back and watch it retweeted, then it'll hit the blogs and finally the 'news.' And all they have to do is try to track down the original source (you) but they seldom do. And that's what "crowdsourced" news has come to. Whenever someone heralds the amazing results from crowdsourced news, it's always post hoc cherry picked results of an actual first hand account or someone who got it right. They seldom look at the entire volume of tweets prior to what we know is true and what is conjecture/wrong.

Re:Jon Stewart Said It Well (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487175)

here it is [crooksandliars.com]

Funny as hell, too.

Re:Jon Stewart Said It Well (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487335)

He was hilarious last night, as the best of humor always contains an uncomfortable truth within it. I will view the broad spectrum of newscasts from time to time to see how each is reporting the same event, but in matters on the order of 9/11, CNN has always been my go-to newscast. I find my old jaded self still capable of disappointment today. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, a wretched whore, and an honorable journalist are at a crossroads, equidistant from a pile of gold at the intersection's center. The starting gun sounds and they race to the prize. Who wins? The wretched whore... because now that we're all grown up, we know there's no such thing as the fat man in red, the magic egg-laying rabbit, or the honorable newsman.

Re:Jon Stewart Said It Well (1)

Solandri (704621) | about a year and a half ago | (#43488295)

Get on Twitter, say some stuff that sounds legit. Sit back and watch it retweeted, then it'll hit the blogs and finally the 'news.' And all they have to do is try to track down the original source (you) but they seldom do. And that's what "crowdsourced" news has come to.

That's pretty much how gossip works. In their rush to embrace "social media" and incorporate crowdsourcing into their reporting process, the news organizations have lost sight of what distinguished their profession from mere gossip - a bona fide effort to confirm what you're hearing before you run off repeating it. Instead they've degenerated into repeating it, but pretending adding the magic words "we have an unconfirmed report..." makes it all ok.

Get resigned to further losses of freedom (4, Insightful)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487001)

Whatever else this story will do, it will further undermine any objection to CCTV cameras everywhere, especially if the bomber gets caught as a result of them.

Re:Get resigned to further losses of freedom (3, Insightful)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487597)

"The only thing I ever saw that came close to objective journalism was a closed-circuit TV setup that watched shoplifters in the general store at Woody Creek, Colorado," wrote the late, great Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.

Re:Get resigned to further losses of freedom (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43488255)

And if this incident isn't used as a pretext to assault our freedoms (which it so far hasn't been), will all you tinfoil hatters admit you were wrong?

Of coarse not, you will just pretend it never happened and continue believing just like followers of psychics, astrology and other such hogwash.

transcript or GTFO (5, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487065)

If I wanted video I'd be on Youtube.

Re:transcript or GTFO (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487147)

also, "He and I were chatting on Facebook"
faaaaaaail ;)

Re:transcript or GTFO (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487295)

Seriously, this * 1000. Sorry DICEdot, but this isn't what I come here for.

Re:transcript or GTFO (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487421)

If I wanted video I'd be on Youtube.

What did we say overwhelmingly in a recent poll? Something about you should implement what the customer wants, not what the developers want? The world would be a happier place.

Re:transcript or GTFO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487469)

Yup. Same reason why I read a few of the comments to see what I could savage.

Re:transcript or GTFO (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487753)

Shut up, you whiny fucking bitch.

emt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487093)

Wtf is an EMT?

Re:emt? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487171)

Wtf is an EMT?

"E"mergency "M"edical "T"echnician.

IOW ("I"n "O"ther "W"ords), the medical person that works from an ambulance.

Re:emt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487177)

emergency medical tech I believe

Re:emt? (1)

Urban Garlic (447282) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487189)

Seriously? Emergency medical technician, aka paramedic. The guy in the ambulance who does the cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.

Re:emt? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487245)

Seriously, nobody can know all the acronyms from every field.

Re:emt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487655)

It'd be one thing if the summary was talking about the difference between ALS and BLS or something like that (advanced/basic life support), but I'm with your parent... maybe it's 'cause I watched a lot of Rescue 911 as a kid, but I'd consider "EMT" to be pretty basic knowledge for people living in the US.

(Obviously, this may not apply outside of the US.)

Re:emt? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#43488399)

(Obviously, this may not apply outside of the US.)

Trust me, it applies even more outside the US. Especially framed with context as it was. Plus, people with ESL* tend to look things up before blaming others for their ignorance :)

*(ESL = English as a Second Language)

Re:emt? (1)

cffrost (885375) | about a year and a half ago | (#43488569)

Seriously, nobody can know all the acronyms from every field.

I've found http://www.acronymfinder.com/ [acronymfinder.com] to be helpful. Results are are categorized by field.

Re:emt? (1)

pinkfalcon (215531) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487497)

Minor nitpicking here, but this is the internet...

An EMT is not the same as a Paramedic. EMT's can give O2, Intubate, do CPR, insert an IV, provide basic care etc... A Paramedic can give drugs on the scene (after consulting with a dr - usually over the radio), emergency surgery in trauma cases, and probably a lot more. I think it's the difference of 80 hours of school for an EMT versus 400 hours of school for a paramedic, but don't quote me on those numbers.

Re:emt? (2)

EvanED (569694) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487623)

Minor nitpicking here, but this is the internet... An EMT is not the same as a Paramedic

If you hadn't, I'd have. :-)

I would describe it a bit differently though. Essentially, there are four levels of EMT: EMT Basic, EMT Intermediate, EMT Advanced, and Paramedic. That is, all paramedics are EMTs but not vice versa.

A couple times I've considered geting EMT-basic certification and volunteering. I never have, but I did look into the training requirements. An EMT Basic course will usually be one semester; I think the one around here is twice a week for around 3 hours each meeting. That comes out to around 80 hours. I could be wrong, but I think the Intermediate course was another semester. The paramedic curriculum though is a couple years of more classes. The basic and intermediate courses struck me as something that it'd be reasonable for a lot of people to do while still having a day job, but the paramedic curriculum definitely seemed like a much more full-time commitment.

Re:emt? (1)

hazem (472289) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487233)

Slashdot is bad when it comes to acronyms and assuming everone speaks the same language (figuratively and literally).

In this case, EMT is Emergency Medical Technician. They're often the people who arrive in ambulances. The old US TV show, Emergency! is centered around EMTs, about the same time that EMTs first started to exist in the US.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_medical_technician [wikipedia.org]

Can you stop the 24/7 coverage now? (2, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487121)

Just wondering if all you MSM types can get off your 24/7 cycle and stop going over and over and over this.

My cousin is home from the hospital and her two knee surgeries, and the FBI has the shrapnel from her leg.

K, thanks.

P.S.: Most of my family is NOT WATCHING your coverage. At all.

Re:Can you stop the 24/7 coverage now? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487203)

The concentration on the Boston bombing is ridiculous considering that Iraq had twenty car bombings that same day. It's ridiculous that they dropped every single other news story to cover only the Boston story, and then repeated the same five minutes' worth of information 24 hours a day. They may as well have shut off the antenna at that point.

Re: Can you stop the 24/7 coverage now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487493)

American news companies broadcasting primarily on American channels SHOULD give higher precedence to US news. Because people care most about what's going on in their own country. There is nothing wrong with that.

Re: Can you stop the 24/7 coverage now? (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487837)

American news companies broadcasting primarily on American channels SHOULD give higher precedence to US news. Because people care most about what's going on in their own country. There is nothing wrong with that.

So it took about 5 minutes to give all of the known information play it at the top of the hour and then tell some more news. just because it happened here did not mean they needed to stop all other reporting

Re:Can you stop the 24/7 coverage now? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487563)

The concentration on the Boston bombing is ridiculous considering that Iraq had twenty car bombings that same day. It's ridiculous that they dropped every single other news story to cover only the Boston story, and then repeated the same five minutes' worth of information 24 hours a day. They may as well have shut off the antenna at that point.

To quote the Ninja Turtles cartoon:
"Dog bites man? that's not news, Man Bites dog, that's news!"

The significance of a news story is inversely related to how frequently similar incident occurs. Bombings happen all the time in Iraq so they are only rarely worth international news coverage. Bombings like this are almost unheard of in the United States, which makes it more significant news.

However I will grant you that 24 hour coverage was unnecessary.

Re:Can you stop the 24/7 coverage now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487927)

Somewhere there's a great pie chart of deaths recorded solely in the US for April 15th. After the first hour of coverage, enough people had already died on the roads in the US to beat the death toll from the bombs.

As a terrorist attack, this was pathetic. The United States already killed 10 times the number of Afghans at a wedding early that day. But we don't hear about that, because no one cares about the US bombing civilians whose only crime was attending a wedding.

So, yes, I can see why we might break to cover it when it happened, but the fact the Slashdot is STILL posting shit about it is kind of pathetic. It was a small, meaningless attack. It killed a very small number of people and wounded a very small number of people. Worse happens on the roads in the US every day, including that one.

Move on, already! We still have very real problems that we as a nation should be addressing, and a very minor terror attack in a very minor city isn't one of them.

Re:Can you stop the 24/7 coverage now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43488487)

That's like saying Norway was ridiculous in its concentrated reporting on Breivik's massacre when many more people are massacred in embattled African countries every single day. There is an expectation of peacefulness in one country above that of the other.

Re:Can you stop the 24/7 coverage now? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487417)

The most important question is, does she get the shrapnel back after the trial (if any)?

Re:Can you stop the 24/7 coverage now? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487475)

Not sure. Don't think anyone in my family cares about the shrapnel, other than as used for evidence.

Re:Can you stop the 24/7 coverage now? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487995)

I know more than one person with souvenirs from war injuries. Something for the kids and their kids kids to talk about.

Fact Checking and Bias (4, Interesting)

Atticka (175794) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487149)

Where to begin...

The competition to get to the story first is too great and often over shadows the duty of the new to check facts and report an unbiased account of events.

What is missing is any sort of repercussions for reporting false facts, who do we hold accountable? Unfortunately good news simply does not pull in the desired ratings and ad revenues.

Re:Fact Checking and Bias (2)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year and a half ago | (#43488125)

And that "competition" is complete bunk. People don't care who has a story first. They go to their usual outlets, and the stories are reported there whenever the info reaches them. The reason they go to the sites or news stations/programs they do is because they prefer the coverage or style of reporting that's going on there.

Can't watch video. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487161)

Does he say anything about the Boston bombing getting all the attention and the Texas fertilizer plant explosion being some sideshow?

Back to the bombing ... it's been a couple of days and no organization has come forward saying we did it because [insert some reason here.]

I'm beginning to think it is a "lone wolf really pissed off at something so he's gonna take it out on the World" type of thing and the perpetrator in is the woods somewhere.

Re: Can't watch video. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487545)

You're *beginning* to think that it was a lone wolf? That was my FIRST assumption. Organized terrorist attacks do not happen often in the US. In fact, it hasn't happened in 11 years.

A crazy guy or two killing a bunch of people happens frequently. Until there's a reason to suspect this was an organized attack by a terrorist group, IMO you should assume it's not.

Re: Can't watch video. (1)

DaHat (247651) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487721)

Organized terrorist attacks do not happen often in the US. In fact, it hasn't happened in 11 years.

Depends on how you define 'organized'... and sometimes they do not happen because we get lucky and stop them ahead of time (see Fort Dix six)

Nidal Malik Hasan may have pulled the trigger on his own, but was later discovered to be in communication and plotting with Al-Awlaki.

Oh right... the Obama administration refuses to call that a terrorist attack... only 'work place violence'.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab wasn't exactly a lone wolf as someone gave him that bomb and put him on the plane, similar can be said for Richard Reid (ie not acting alone.

Re:Can't watch video. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43488561)

Does he say anything about the Boston bombing getting all the attention and the Texas fertilizer plant explosion being some sideshow?

Quite a lot, really. In just about every single metric you can possibly name, the explosion in West, Texas was far, far worse than the one at that race. Already five times the number of people have died and there was property destruction that's nearly infinitely larger than those caused by the pressure cooker bombs.

And do you think for a second that Obama will be heading to West, Texas? Hell no, they didn't vote for him, why should he care about them? But a few people die in a state that gave him a very small number of electoral votes? Gotta put in an appearance there!

No info + 24/hr news cycle = failure (2)

hsmith (818216) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487167)

CNN/NBC/Fox all want to be the first to get the story out. No matter what, for some reason being first though bad info - is good.

Then, they have hours of airtime to fill. So they use unknown "fact" combined with stupid pundits to just fill airtime. It is a bunch of shit in summation.

Re:No info + 24/hr news cycle = failure (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487277)

CNN/NBC/Fox all want to be the first to get the story out. No matter what, for some reason being first though bad info - is good.

  Then, they have hours of airtime to fill. So they use unknown "fact" combined with stupid pundits to just fill airtime. It is a bunch of shit in summation.

It's the evolution of news. All the media has taken the blogger threat seriously - thinking that they have to compete against Joe Schmoe with a blog reporting on news, and being able to do it quicker means catching up on twitter and other stuff. So quicker becomes better because you want to be the one to break it first, not the one who breaks it 5 minutes later. Plus we've all convinced ourselves that traditional media is dying because the internet can get it out quicker faster and cheaper

Of course, this rolls back into the discussion of something with a long update cycle - newspapers and magazines. There the added value they can have is NOT bringing the latest conjecture, but spend the extra time fact checking and following up because you cannot compete on instant, but you can compete on analysis.

Plus, there's a lot of news I don't care about knowing right this instant - if I find out the next day, that's fine with me. Sometimes knowing immediately isn't very valuable E.g., the bombing - yes it happened. But whether I find out two seconds after or the next day, my life remains unchanged for the most part because I'm nowhere near Boston, nor do I have friends or relatives there. And even if I did, I don't care about what caused it - the only information I'd want is "are they safe?". The type of bomb is irrelevant information in the near term.

Re:No info + 24/hr news cycle = failure (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487997)

The problem is that they haven't taken the blogger threat seriously. They've knee-jerked. There's a difference. A serious response to the blogger threat would involve using bloggers as a source of tips, and seeking confirmation before they actually report things, or at the very least, making it clear which reports are unconfirmed.

Instead, their response has been to report faster and less accurately. Thus, ironically, the very actions they took in response to the blogger threat have eliminated the sole remaining advantage that they previously had over blogs, and thus lessened the news media's importance rather than increasing it.

Re:No info + 24/hr news cycle = failure (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487577)

CNN/NBC/Fox all want to be the first to get the story out. No matter what, for some reason being first though bad info - is good.

In other words, the fourth estate has been reduced to the level of a slashdot first post.

Media analysis (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487185)

I...... don't....... care!

yellow balloons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487217)

FBI just released their video and are blurring an image of a person in a light blue coat possibly a heavy set female who has a package (white box with a pink ribbon and three or so yellow balloons.) I observed after the first blast on TV ""yellow balloons"" flying upwards from extremely close proximity to the blast. This hopefully will be looked at also.

Paraphrasing an expert interviewed the day after (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487257)

People on the inside are giving out information they don't have to people on the outside who don't verify it. Both are primarily motivated by trying to make a name for themselves.

But even if (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487303)

It is domestic terrorism it IS war against America.

And prosthetics may have gotten better, but I know DARPA is also working on some regenerative goodies. In fact there is at least one soldier walking around today who re-grew his own thigh muscle due to a powder of sorts that helped the tissue re-grow as opposed to forming scar tissue. It's fascinating stuff. And I'd much prefer regenerative versus prosthesis.

Re: But even if (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487517)

No, it's not war. War is when a country declares war on another and/or attacks them. Or, when two sufficiently large armies from the same country attack each other.

Some guy and his buddy setting off a bomb at a marathon (which is what this looks like, since no group has claimed responsibility) is nowhere close to being war. We DO have a name for this event though: a bombing. Bombings have happened numerous times in the past.

Re: But even if (1)

DaHat (247651) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487755)

War is when a country declares war on another and/or attacks them

Says who? The Barbary wars would disagree.. as would the war on drugs, war on poverty, war on homelessness, etc.

We DO have a name for this event though: a bombing

I think the FBI would like to talk to you... as you obviously have more information that is publically known. If it is that simple... great, but do not treat a lack of claim of credit as an assurance that this was not a foreign run operation.

Why don't we wait to see what the facts say once they've been collected?

Cable news not what it was supposed to be (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487317)

Everyone thought dedicated news channels would mean dedicated new coverage. These for-profit news channels are trying to maximize their news coverage dollar and that usually means making the most out of the least. Late last night I watched a sheriff interviewed who was extremely careful not to give out even estimates of numbers. He was very disciplined and never speculated; at the most saying it could have been a criminal act or it could have been an industrial accident.

When a reporter was later asked to summarize his comments, she emphasis (paraphrasing) "he said it *could* have been a criminal act. That's an interesting choice of words." So even when there's no news, that gets turned into something!

Look at the Jodi Arias trial that's been featured on HLN for weeks now. An open-and-shut murder tiral about a pretty girl with some irrelevant sordid sexual details has become their primary focus and they're milking it for every last graphic sexual and violent detail.

Re:Cable news not what it was supposed to be (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487399)

I stopped watching HLN the moment Nancy Grace(less) went for the ratings grab interview of that kidnapped girl and kept pressing her for details if she was raped. Grace was pushing for any statement from the girl that would make the next days headlines, and showed what a lousy, heartless and uncaring bully she really is. That she still has a show is disgraceful.

Come to think of it, that was the moment I lost interest in most any type of sensationalist news coverage on TV. If you are only reporting conjecture, and don't have any clear cut facts, I move on.

Re:Cable news not what it was supposed to be (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487449)

The OJ Simpson coverage laid the groundwork for the kind of breathless "journalism" we see today. Frankly I don't watch TV news any more. It's nauseating.

Re:Cable news not what it was supposed to be (1)

coastwalker (307620) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487763)

I quit watching TV in 1983 in the UK because even then it was apparent that everything on it was heading towards being packaged as limp light entertainment. 24 Hour news took the news all the way. I feel sorry for my parents who still watch it and are depressed because they think civilization is falling apart. There is lots more going on in the world than rapes of 11 year olds or measles outbreaks or bombs at Marathons, a million refugees from Syria or two or three habitable planets being found come to mind - but "news" is all about what scares the crap out of you because we can spin it to sound like it might happen to you - tomorrow!

Re:Cable news not what it was supposed to be (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#43488001)

An old adage is, "Bad news sells newspapers", and bad news on TV keeps people tuned in through the commercials. Staying away from television altogether might just lead to a happier life, if not just not paying for cable every month.

There is a lot of good going on in this life, but you have to look for it.

Nothing we are doing is going to change this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487339)

People have been complaining about CNN and 24hr news since it went on air. Did it help? No, because you still tune in and they get paid. Stop watching it, or it will stay around.

Stop complaining about it (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487403)

Seriously, stop fucking watching the 24 hr news channels. If you all weren't watching, then they wouldn't be making any money. You can't complain about something that you regularly participate in willingly. No one is FORCING YOU to pay attention to this fucking shit.

Looks like (3, Funny)

amightywind (691887) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487415)

Looks like muslims to me. We need to get them out of the country.

SImple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487443)

Because fast trumps right every time.

Local coverage... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487445)

Just watched the local coverage "breaking news". The interrrupted show early, screwed up the sound, and then went ON and ON after it was over. And they showed footage the FBI specifically said not to use and said it was what the FBI said to use for identifying the suspects. In short, they are idiots.

Too much coverage (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487533)

It sounds odd to say it in this day and age, but there is simply too much coverage of breaking events like this.

We all act as if those stupid ignorant media people are ridiculous, but they are just doing what every one of us does. We speculate, we come up with little stories and runors. Here you have someone talking to a clip of the carnage, that is compiled from 20 or so pieces, being shown over and over again for 30 minutes, and they have to say something. So you get stupid stuff being said. Just like we were doing in front of our televisions while watching that 30 minutes of repetitive footage.

The problem is that the news agencies feel they have to all scurry over and only cover one thing. But there isn't much to cover at the moment. So there you have it. People being people.

Re:Too much coverage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487639)

I agree, too much coverage. "People being people" to me means "people doing evil and depraved things". I think humanity has always done gross and awful things, now we just hear about it a lot more because of this age of instant information. I feel like we're in a sort of limbo right now as a culture. We all see these atrocities being committed, yet we do nothing but say "what a shame" and then move on to the next tragedy.

What is the point of this story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487715)

What is the point of this slashdot story?
Generate a bunch of page hits for a journalist that I have never heard of before and don't really care about?

Is there a question to ask?
Or is it just a one paragraph opinion piece because the editor/submitter doesn't have the skills to write a proper opinion piece?

To me this is a meta-story - too bad I can't meta-click to show my disdain for it.

It worked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43487767)

CISPA was approved after all, so no need to keep doing rounds about this. Now keep pushing for more security so the remaining freedom that used to be isn't there anymore.

News Coverage = Animated GIF (2)

linebackn (131821) | about a year and a half ago | (#43487855)

Most of the "news coverage" right at the start could have been replaced by a 5 second looping animated GIF.

Worse yet, a few hours later some of the stations around here were showing repeating footage clips of people running and screaming with no obvious indication it was recorded earlier to try and make it seem like it was still happening.

9/11 - Iraq - North Korea - Boston Marathon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43488235)

The problem is hysteria. It's apparently the only thing that sells anymore.

A couple of weeks ago CNN had a rare moment of lucid reflection when it started talking about whether or not the news coverage following 9/11 and leading into the Iraq War was irresponsible.

Then North Korea goes into its silliness that it gets into every five years or so, and CNN was suddenly "Ermagerd Nerks!!", and they were changing pictures every hour to put up some new scary nuke-related graphic, throwing up Betteridge's law violations with every new detail that seemed to emerge, getting quotes from Dick Cheney about the perceived threat (irony of ironies there). Then, all of a sudden, an ACTUAL disaster occurs that nobody saw coming, and the hysteria's gone into overdrive.

But hey, humans crave information. Too bad it's not schools giving it to them anymore.

Colbert Gets It (1)

Flere Imsaho (786612) | about a year and a half ago | (#43488391)

As usual, Stephen Colbert gets to the truthiness of the rush to be first.

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/416046/june-28-2012/cable-news-gaffe-on-obamacare-supreme-court-ruling [colbertnation.com]

Re:Colbert Gets It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43488473)

Anyone know how to get Colbert/Stewart to play in Linux Mint 14? It used to work, the one day stopped, and so I started watching it in Windows on a laptop. Then it started working in Linux again one day, and so I watched it there for about a month, then it stopped working again and hasn't worked for several months now. So I've just stopped watching it because I don't care to keep swapping hard drives in that laptop.

It sure would be nice if I could get the video to play again.

You learn something every day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43488489)

...ok so I knew that I could google something. I had assumed I could skype. But until today I never knew I could facebook.

Huge problem with media (2)

b4upoo (166390) | about a year and a half ago | (#43488505)

The most pressing point is not about Boston and may have nothing to do with Al Quiida at all. The real problem is frequency of incidents.
We are seeing more and more people or groups acting out in violent ways. The media and politicians can make remarks all day long but the public is
missing the point. Here we have several bombs made from pressure cookers. About one week back we had some nut attack 14 people with some sort of box cutter or utility knife. In the mean time we have had organized killings of people in public jobs such as prison wardens. Then we have the recurring loonies who have urges to shoot school kids or even college kids. There are so many incidents it is hard to keep track of them. I do not believe it is bad diet or lead in the drinking water. I think we simply have a population under too much pressure and people are acting out. Yet our politicians will not address the real problems. For example many in congress would like more background checks on gun purchases. They are smart enough to give lip service to claim advancing the mental health care system but that is a huge lie. America has never funded mental health and is not about to provide decent funding for mental health. And it gets even worse. The fertilizer plant explosion in Texas may well be a worse problem than the Boston incident. The company involved has already admitted that they failed to have mandatory fire and incident equipment in place. In a very real way that company may well have been far more outrageous than the nut that placed the bombs in Boston. Yet media won't jump on it at all. I can also tell you that Ft. Lauderdale had a fertilizer plant burn a few decades ago and the responding firemen came down with cancer almost universally. Apparently the gasses expelled in a fertilizer plant fire tend to be very, very lethal in the long term. Where is the media on this? Frankly American news media is really in the crapper these days.

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