Media Coverage of Boston

In the following, Jon Stewart is critical of media coverage of the Boston bombings and their aftermath.  (He picks on the New York Post and CNN in this piece, but last night he worked over Fox and its misreading of the Constitution.)  Do you think that this criticism is justified?  Or did the media do the best it could do, under the circumstances, and provide us with responsible, informative coverage?

15 responses to “Media Coverage of Boston”

  1. robhrabchak4 says :

    The events following the Boston attacks presented one of the biggest recent new stories, so it is understandable that media outlets (such as the New York Post and CNN) would devote as much coverage to the events as they did. With so many networks trying to share any new information before their competition has the chance, it is almost inevitable that misinformation would be printed, such as what happened in the New York Post. But trusted media simply should not be lying to the public, so criticism in these cases is perfectly legitimate. I got the sense that most news networks tried to avoid over-sensationalizing the story, but I still think that criticism is an important tool to prevent the media from sensationalizing future stories. In other words, they deserve criticism because it should keep the media in-check.

  2. Lizzie1 says :

    I would rather wait a little longer to get factual information than hear incorrect information from a news source claiming they’re right. It is the media’s responsibility to inform the public correctly, so Jon Stewart’s criticism is definitely justified because CNN jumped the gun and made their priority being first rather than being right. I understand the pressure they’re facing for ratings, but I still think they should make sure their information is correct.

  3. Tanya4 says :

    This criticism is definitely justified. No matter how long it takes the media to get accurate and factual information, viewers deserve the truth. I personally think the medias principle job is to provide its viewers with accurate news, and if this news is false or incorrect, it can result in a misinformed public. Obviously this is a result of the overwhelming pressure that news stations feel to increase viewership. However, the pursuit of high ratings should never be at the expense of the truth.

  4. megweck1 says :

    Although I feel that making jokes about the bombings is insensitive for those affected by the tragedy, Stewart makes a good point. CNN was too greedy for the “breaking news” and didn’t stop to think that this was not something to be “nosy” about- this was a dangerous situation. Millions of Americans were on edge. They wanted correct information, and it was crucial that they had correct information in order to feel safe and informed. President Obama knows all too well that the consequences of jumping to conclusions, or even making the slightest error in word choice, alarms the public and creates problems where there should only be information. I agree with Tanya- clearly CNN was trying to boost ratings with its cutting edge information, but their technique fell flat.

  5. Christina4 says :

    My experience last week I think reflects the way the media was reporting. I first heard the news and it was senior skip day so I tuned right into CNN the second I hear. After about 90 minutes of CNN trying to fill time waiting for Wolff Biltzer, I saw that there was a whole lot of ideas being thrown out. I moved right to CBS to get some more fact based news. For the rest of the week I tuned into NBCNews especially on Friday. I really respect (and love) Brian WIlliams’ and the entire staff over their were meticulous and deliberate in every word that made it to air. In such a time of crisis, false reporting and speculation only cause paranoia and chaos.

  6. mattgiannottione says :

    With everyone in America chomping at the bit to find out more information about the terror attack which seemingly came out of nowhere, the media was trying to fill that empty void of information. I personally was craving some sort of understanding of the “who, what, where, why, how” questions. Sure the news did not give me what I was looking for, but their rigorous reporting kept me satisfied until the major news came. I do believe that false reporting and lying to the millions of views is absolutely wrong, but the media companies were trying to keep their hungry viewers satisfied with what they could infer, analyze, and gather.

  7. BenLev4 says :

    Stewart criticizes CNN in two ways. 1) They filled time with blabber. 2) Some of their information was simply wrong. In regard to 1, if I turned on CNN, and there was anything other than news about Boston, I would’ve switched channels. Frankly, I would rather see a news reporter speculate and fill time talking about hearing cop cars in the near distance than any other story. I do not fault CNN for covering the Boston events 24/7, even if at times, there was nothing to say. But giving false information, or even “educated assumptions” is wrong. At the time, I was reading CNN’s website and the story was changing every hour. As one of the world’s largest media outlets, CNN must be 100% sure that what they are releasing is correct.

  8. Naiyah1 says :

    I think that although Stewart’s criticisms are harsh, he does have good reason behind them. Many of the news stations and newspapers were more concerned with breaking the story before their competition than actually reporting accurate information. CNN especially really just seemed to want to be there at all times, even if nothing significant was happening. And, as far as reporting false information, I think that this was completely inappropriate. With something as serious as catching a terrorist, American citizens deserve to know what is actually happening, not just some rushed report of what a news outlet thinks is happening. I think the media really dropped the ball on this topic, and should take care to make sure screw ups like that never happen again.

  9. Ryan4 says :

    This type of media “feeding frenzy” created over such controversial news is expected. Each network covering th estory needs to be one step ahead of the other, and sometimes that means throwing in some extra facts that may be insignifigant or even outright wrong. But this isn’t anything new, people should recognize the different instances where the media is trying to draw you in with some semi-juicy news bit. I don’t think you’re going to be able to do anything about, so in that sense I think Stewart was being a tad bit overzealous, but with so much speculation in this instance, his claims are understandable.

  10. sophiae7 says :

    I think the criticism regarding the media coverage of the events in Boston is fair. That being said there was definitely a variety in the quality of coverage. I also understand the pressure they were under to report correctly but also give what the viewers wanted which in most cases was immediate answers. I think CNN most definitely dropped the ball when it came to their coverage. Not only did they falsely report many facts but they also fed into the hysteria of what was going on. I’m sorry but they really did not need the banner saying “breaking news” to be on the bottom of the screen for 2 weeks following the attacks. I was startled everytime I turned on the TV and thought something else had happened for days following thanks to the “breaking news” banner on the screen. That being said, there was some great reporting that was done. I think Brian Williams did an outstanding job of balancing factual information while still keeping viewers engaged.

  11. benjamin1 says :

    There is something is to said about how irresponsible the media can be in their handling of dramatic news stories like this one. It’s clear that incentive to quickly relay information leads news sources like CNN to get it wrong sometimes; I think of the supreme court decision on the Citizens United Case, when several news groups misreported the results. However, I think incentive to be correct and report with integrity, driven by competition with other news sources, will keep this (new?) problem in check.

  12. govrobin1 says :

    Some of the gray area during the media coverage is understandable, but the extent to which the media screwed up over this incident is not forgivable. Information was falsified in order to please the public, which is not acceptable. During these extremely emotional and important stories it is important to report only facts in order to minimize the amount of wrong information that is provided to the public. I admit that during events such as the Boston marathon bombing, people want to get answers and they want to get them fast, but providing viewers with wrong information is misleading and leads politicized arguements. The Boston Marathon was a tragic event. They should leave it like that and not use it as a method to support their political beliefs or increase viewership.

  13. emmar4 says :

    I agree that Jon Stewart rightfully criticizes these news stations on giving uninformed and confusing information. If they didn’t know exactly what was going on or didn’t have reliable sources, then they just shouldn’t have given quick, misleading information. In a highly intense and critical situation like this, no news is better than false news. Part of the fault is on the American people for demanding fast information 24/7, but that is the way our country and communication has evolved, so it is up to the media and news providers to be responsible about giving information.

  14. iqra07 says :

    While Jon Stewart is definitely harsh with his criticism, I think that he has a food point. Several news stations were so concerned with getting a story out that their accuracy suffered. The job of the media is to give people information-accurate information. Obviously with such a tragedy, people wanted to know what was going on immediately, but it would have been better if the media made people wait if it ensured that they would get correct information.

  15. Langston4 says :

    While the news stations’ intentions were good, I do think Jon Stewart has a point. The media was so caught up in giving us a story about the bombings and being the first to report on it that it definitely lacked in accuracy. I understand the media’s issues with that, wanting to remain competitive with other news channels and be among the first to give a detailed story, but I believe that the people would rather hear an accurate account of what happened rather than hear bits of dramatic fragments of a story simply because a news station wants to remain competitive.

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