Here’s a good story from the L.A. Times regarding the media’s role in amplifying the hurricane rumour mill:
Fox News, a day before the major evacuation of the Superdome began, issued an “alert” as talk show host Alan Colmes reiterated reports of “robberies, rapes, carjackings, riots and murder. Violent gangs are roaming the streets at night, hidden by the cover of darkness.”
The Los Angeles Times adopted a breathless tone the next day in its lead news story, reporting that National Guard troops “took positions on rooftops, scanning for snipers and armed mobs as seething crowds of refugees milled below, desperate to flee. Gunfire crackled in the distance.”
The New York Times repeated some of the reports of violence and unrest, but the newspaper usually was more careful to note that the information could not be verified.
Nice to see they’re scrutinizing their own paper. Kudos to the New York Times for at least pointing out that the reports couldn’t be verified. I was always told that if you attribute everything you say in print to somebody, you’ll never turn out to be wrong.