Another Example of Bad News Coverage

A while back, I posted about news coverage of a suspected Ebola case in Stillwater.  The media in question trumpeted about a case being Ebola when it was already known not to be.

There were several examples today in the same vein.  I’m going to pick on the NBC Nightly News for this one.

The setup is that a mentally disturbed man had wandered away from a home.  Another man, a therapist, was there to help calm the mentally disturbed man.

Somehow the police had been told the disturbed man had a gun.

The therapist was sitting near the disturbed man, and the therapist had his hands raised, knowing the cops were nearby with guns out.  A cop took aim at the mentally disturbed guy, but was a lousy shot, and hit the therapist in the leg.

It’s been reported the cops then rushed over and handcuffed the therapist.  If true, those cops are stupid.

Regardless, this happened Monday.  Today, the NBC News reported it like this:

  1. A man laying on the ground with his hands raised was shot by police.
  2. The man was unarmed, and trying to help a mentally disturbed man.
  3. The man shouted to the police that the mentally disturbed man did not have a gun, but a toy truck in his hands.

The story went on for a couple minutes in that vein, and most of the way through, the correspondent finally says that the cop in question thought the therapist was in danger, shot, and missed the target, hitting the therapist.

It seems to me that the tone of the story was to continue a narrative of black men shot by cops.  Whether done for political reason (unlikely, I think) or to drive ratings (more likely), the tone should have been different.

Something like this:  “In Miami today, a cop shot at a man and missed, wounding another man nearby who was trying to help.  Neither the target or the helping man had guns.  Maybe Miami cops need to be issued binoculars, and need additional training on the range.”  Because those are really the two problems.

If the therapist says there is no gun, and he is two feet away, why did the cop shoot so fast?  If the cops had binocs, one could have observed the situation a little more clearly.

Regardless, this was an example of lousy reporting.



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