By Scott Tibbs, December 20, 2012
One of the lessons of the atrocity committed by a madman in Newtown, Connecticut should be how the news media handles stories like this one. Within hours of the shooting, the news media had identified the shooter and his Facebook profile was plastered across cyberspace as well as cable television.
There was only one problem - the media identified the wrong person.
The media's victim in this case was then harassed by angry cyber-vigilantes, some of whom threw death threats in his direction. (Never mind the stupidity of threatening to kill him when it was confirmed the shooter was dead.)
In the rush to be first with the scoop, an innocent man's life has been thrown into turmoil and his reputation savaged by irresponsible media that were more interested in profit than truth. The media's reputation has also been damaged.
This is not new. Political hacks at ABC "News" recklessly identified a Tea Party activist as the shooter in Aurora, Colorado, leading to him being harassed and threatened with death.
The lesson is simple: Make sure you have all of the facts before you identify the shooter in a case like this. Being right is more important than being first.