Monday, April 29, 2013

Unless you have the power to read minds or contact the dead, speculation makes you look stupid

Over the past two weeks the news business has apparently acquired a whole bunch of reporters with paranormal powers. Incredibly, these people are not only able to see into the mind of the captured Boston bomber, but are able to act as mediums and contact the dead one as well. These supernatural skill sets allow them to tell the general public exactly what the bombers were thinking, what their mindset was, and what they were or were not planning to do next.

They were going to New York. No, they weren't. They acted alone. Nope, they had help.

I continue to be amazed at journalists who simply spout these theories as if they are facts. And let's face it, they're theories. Just because they've interrogated the captured bomber doesn't mean he told the truth. (Why would he lie? Uh, I don't know... he just killed and maimed a bunch of people, so let's trust him.) Just because they've looked into the history of the dead bomber doesn't mean they had any idea what made him set off bombs or what he planned to do next.

We've already seen some incredibly embarrassing, and yes, amateurish coverage during the week of the bombing. How bad was it? The President had this line over the weekend:

"I know CNN has taken some knocks lately, but the fact is I admire their commitment to cover all sides of the story just in case one of them happens to be accurate."

A funny joke, but a sad commentary on what the news business has become.

Meanwhile, now that corrections have been issued, it's apparently time to speculate.

And of course, let's speculate by injecting some political bias into the argument.

There's an old newsroom joke that goes like this: Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

It's not a joke anymore. It's fact.

Unless you have hard facts, don't speculate. It makes you look stupid. And it makes me change the channel.

No comments: