The Race To Be First and Getting the Story Wrong: How a Number of News Outlets, Led By NPR, Mistakenly Reported That Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Was Dead Soon After She Was Shot, Which, We Learned Soon Thereafter, Was Untrue

Jan 9, 2011  •  Post A Comment

"The rapidly replicated false report that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had died after being shot in the head provided media outlets another lesson this weekend in the danger of leaping to conclusions," writes David Bauder of the Associated Press.

According to the article, "NPR News’ executive editor apologized Sunday to Giffords’ family for the false report. That story came only an hour after NPR scored a significant scoop in reporting on Saturday’s [January 8th, 2011] shooting in Tucson, Ariz., itself….National Public Radio had reported on its 2 p.m. EST newscast — and in subsequent e-mail alerts to subscribers — that Giffords had died from her injury when, in fact, she was still in surgery. Dick Meyer, executive editor of NPR News, said the information came from two different government sources, including one in the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

The article adds, "Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier said on the air at 2:18 p.m. that NPR and one of his own sources reported that Giffords was dead. Fox’s screen carried the headline: ‘AZ Rep. Giffords Has Died After Being Shot in the Head.’ Another Fox reporter said that the shooting suspect had himself been shot before being taken into custody, and there’s been no evidence of that happening. CNN went with NPR’s report, and Martin Savidge quickly added that CNN had confirmed the ‘death’ as well."


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