Bus Bombing Story Shows Why We Don’t Jump To Conclusions
This lede in The Two-Way on Friday underscores why it’s important to stick to the facts and avoid speculation when news is breaking:
“German federal prosecutors say the bombing of a soccer team’s bus in Dortmund, Germany, was carried out by a man apparently attempting to manipulate the team’s stock for profit. The 28-year-old man has been arrested and charged with attempted murder, among other things.”
So much for the supposed “terrorist involvement” that had been the subject of earlier news reports.
We skillfully avoided going too far in this case. The day of the attack, The Two-Way was clear: “Police and prosecutors have not identified who is behind the explosions.” Also, the blog quoted the Dortmund police chief saying “I do not want to suggest that this was a terrorist attack.”
On Newscast that day, Lucian Kim reported that “authorities say it’s too early to speculate on the motive behind the blasts.”
Caution is wise even when things seem obvious. The day Aaron Hernandez was found dead, there was discussion about whether we should immediately say it was a suicide. We chose not to, even though the circumstances pointed to that conclusion. The better choice was to simply report what was known about what happened and let the authorities figure out if it was a suicide (the eventual ruling: it was).
(“Memmos;” April 24, 2017)
April 24, 2017