The absolutely stupidity and insanity of a man who attempted to get ricin laced letters to government officials has been all over the news in the last few hours. The incident, which put the nation on edge after the attack at the Boston Marathon, received wide coverage while it was occurring, and it showed that we are vulnerable to both foreign and domestic terrorism here on our shores. When the news that an arrest was made in regards to the ricin letters, media outlets pounced on the chance to tell the world that Kenneth Curtis was the man who tried to kill our political leaders. The fact was though, the man who sent the letters was Paul Kevin Curtis, and the media was reporting the wrong name.
This is not the first time an incident such as this has happened in recent memory though. During the horrible shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Ryan Lanza, the brother of the actual shooter, was reported to be the gunman for hours before the truth finally was told. I can’t get into the mind of Ryan Lanza, but I can say that it must not have been pleasant for him to watch his name being equated with the murder of children for hours before he was finally cleared of wrongdoing. His discomfort was directly tied to media misinformation, and that is why we need to be stricter in our guidelines for what information journalists put out into the media.
Back in the good old days, journalists had to be one hundred percent certain before they reported something as fact to the nation. Those days are long gone though. In the 24 hour news cycle nation we live in, journalists want to be the first to get the scoop, and that means that sometimes they risk accuracy to do it. Basically, they lie to the American people so they can be a step ahead of their competitors, and this is wrong in my eyes.
In my opinion, I think laws need to be put into place so that journalists take the time to make sure they are posting true and accurate information. Yes, I understand that mistakes happen, but when the mistake can cause another human being to be the victim of hate and vitriol by the rest of the world all efforts should be made to report accurate information. After all, could you imagine if your name was Kenneth Curtis and you lived in Mississippi? All of a sudden, you heard the FBI was after you even though you were innocent. You would be freaking out, and this would all be due to some reporter in New York or D.C. who wanted to make a name for themselves by getting the scoop first. This is totally unfair, and it needs to stop.
Therefore, I feel that a law should be passed that journalists must tell accurate and honest information. There should be no excuses for their missteps that have to due with not so credible “credible sources” telling them lies or leaking misinformation to the public so that they can get the scoop first. They affect the lives of innocent people when they lie, and therefore they should strive to keep accuracy as much as possible. If they do this, they can give some more credibility back to their profession and regain the trust of humanity….maybe.
May God Bless America,
The Generation X Conservative