CNN To CT Kid: ‘Was everybody crying, scared?’


Huffington Post:  There’s something unseemly about asking children to answer questions on camera so soon after a tragedy involving their classmates. More problematically, such interviews can add more trauma, experts said, while possibly helping spread misinformation, given that that young children can be unreliable eyewitnesses.

2005 photo.

2005 photo.

Deeply disturbedAdam Lanza, 20, killed his mother with one of her own legal guns Friday morning at home.   NYP.   Then he headed for the Newtown, Connecticut Sandy Hook elementary school.  NYDN.   The NYT falsely claimed Lanza was “buzzed in” (He shot out glass to get past the new security system).  Lanza had a Sig Sauer and a Glock, but it was the Bushmaster rifle (like the AR-15) he used to mow down 20 children, the principal and five teachers before killing himself. UK Daily Mail NBC News.  Everyone he shot died except one who was wounded.

Initially the media erroneously fingered Lanza‘s older brother, Ryan, as the shooter. UK Daily Mail.

The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz:  CNN, MSNBC and CBS reported that Lanza was the shooting suspect. So did Slate and the Huffington Post. “Ryan Lanza Facebook Page Shows Suggestive Details of Apparent Newtown, Connecticut Shooting Suspect,” said the HuffPost headline. Some reports attributed the information to investigators. … This was an egregious error, a product of a fast-moving media culture in which getting it first often supersedes getting it right. Accusing the wrong man of perpetrating a massacre is about as bad as it gets.

Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik For several hours, AP and network and cable TV news misidentified the gunman to millions of readers and viewers as Ryan Lanza. They linked to his Facebook page and ran pictures and information from his account on the air and in print.

Except, as hopefully everyone knows by now, it wasn’t Ryan Lanza who killed those children. It was his younger brother Adam.

You can get a sense of what it feels like to be the victim of such media ignorance from some of Ryan Lanza’s posts on his Facebook page once he was informed by friends on social media that he had been identified as a mass murderer worldwide.


“I’m on the bus home now it wasn’t me.”

[Expletive] you CNN it wasn’t me.”

“Everyone shut the [expletive] up it wasn’t me.”

A friend posted: “How the [expletive] do they jump to such conclusions with zero evidence?”

How, indeed?

In this case, it appears some law enforcement officials might have incorrectly identified the gunman as Ryan Lanza. One account says Adam Lanza had Ryan’s ID on him when police found his body.

That helps explain how it initially might have happened, but it’s not an excuse for so many in the media having it so wrong for so long Friday.

When it takes a distraught young man on a bus posting with a mobile device to his Facebook page to straighten the national media out on a story this huge, it’s time for a journalistic gut check.

But, of course, we won’t have one of those. We hardly ever do that anymore in the media, do we?

I said this during the summer when ABC’s chief investigative reporter Brian Ross incorrectly linked a gunman to the Tea Party based on a journalistic effort that would rate an “F” for a student in his or her first college reporting course. I’m sorry, make that high school reporting course.

I said it again after CNN and Fox News got the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare wrong — and Fox refused to take responsibility for its gaffe.

Friday was filled with other media malfeasance after the first hours of the attack.

MSNBC’s Alex Wagner, for example, went straight to hot-button, partisan opinion-slinging instead of reporting. Here’s part of what she said on-air before anyone had any real facts nailed down:

It is, hopefully, we say this every single time we cover one of these things, a line in the sand. There has got to be some kind of measurable change, some kind of reaction. One would hope that there will be some political capital to reform the way in which we handle gun and gun violence in this country.

That’s what MSNBC does: opinionates on the air. What else would you expect of someone like Wagner on such a channel? Responsible journalism? Fact checking. Some original reporting to try and independently confirm what law officials were saying?

Forget it. we don’t do that anymore at channels like MSNBC. You have to hire a staff of real reporters for that, and it is not as cost effective as hiring a few showboat hosts who say outrageously partisan stuff on-air.

And what about all those hot-dog reporters on the scene who grabbed any little kid whose parents were foolish enough to let their children be interviewed — and put words in the kids’ mouths in hopes of getting a money quote?

I admit, like many people, I am depressed by what happened in that school Friday.

But I am also angry that it seems as if we no longer have a press in this country that can step up and cover such stories responsibly.

It seems as if the more our new technology empowers us, the worse our performance gets — the further we fall from the core values of journalism to inform and clarify. Instead we add to the confusion and cacophony in these deeply troubled times.

AP TV scribe Frazier Moore with more on the media mayhem.

Saturday, December 15, 2012 @ 7:14 AM

  • Marty Davis

    In China a wack job knifed and injured 23 children at a school Friday.

  • Sixtus66

    Thanks for the post. I was screaming “shut up!!” at all of the media who were trying to get comments from the children and even their parents. Personally I think the parents were in shock and didn’t know what they were doing. How can you as a parent wrap their brain around this tragedy and think straight when their child was involved and/or a witness to it? 

    It’s too bad that the vultures circling the victims were too concerned with getting the scoop than they were with the victims.

    • Marty Davis

       Thanks!  That was my first take when I found out about all this yesterday afternoon (it took me nine hours to drive back from DC and I missed the news). 

      The vultures, yes.  The funereal music.  I hate it all.

    • Sentinel

      Wouldn’t it be just precious if one of the children asked the press, “Why aren’t you fuckers interested in Benghazi anymore? You just here to do you’re usual drive-by shitty reporting.”

    • Marty Davis

       It would go right over the buzzards’ heads.

    • Sentinel

      “Your, not you’re”, excuse me – my 5th grade English teacher would piss her pants over that.

    • Marty Davis

       Your usually so articulate, Sentinel!

  • Geezer
    • Marty Davis

      I’m looking at it now.  … I probably wouldn’t have told the reporter babe to “eat a dick” when she blind-tweeted a response to a guy’s tweet about having a neighbor with a kid at the same school where the madman massacred the 20 5-10 year-olds and six adults. 

      I wouldn’t have responded.  Better to ignore, but then again, that’s me.

    • ZoneDaiatlas

       The Gawker Media vultures were out in full force yesterday…  I had to battle them in several of Gawker Media sites…

    • Marty Davis


  • Jimbotalk

    Some good can come from this embarrassment, if:
    1.  the media really start making sure first, and if
    2.  the media then start promoting their “got it right” record.  Promote the hell out of the fact that “we at XXX news did not falsy identify John Smith as the killer.  We waited…” etc. 
    There’s no reason why good journalism can’t be good business, with good promotion.  IF:
    3.  the public then picks their media outlets accordingly. 

    • Marty Davis

       The NYT falsely claimed the killer was “buzzed in” by the school.  Fact:  he shot his way in as confirmed by this a.m.’s news conference. 

      All in the rush to be first. 

      So the brother was fingered first.  Why?  The killer had his ID on him.

      Question that begs an answer but is not getting one today:  If Ryan the older brother hasn’t “talked” to his brother since 2010, how did Adam the younger get his hands on Ryan’s ID? 

    • ZoneDaiatlas

      I guess gun control laws that was suppose to prevented him for getting a gun didn’t work.  CT and NJ has one of the strictest gun laws in the country.  You have to be 21 and that didn’t prevent Adam from getting a gun.  Now I’m hearing he maybe Autistic and on medication for his Autism…

    • Marty Davis

      He just took his mom’s legally registered guns.

  • Sentinel

    Even in the midst of this tragedy, the MSM and the cockroach liberals are falling all over themselves to get in front of any mike to decry “more gun control”. Nothing ever changes with them – all of our problems in society would quickly go away with the proper application of more government.

    • Marty Davis

      How about more mental health monitoring?

    • Sentinel

      Of liberals.

    • Marty Davis

      ME now says vics were hit multiple times with rifle ammo. So he didn’t use the Sig and Glock but the Bushmaster assault rifle. That’s why he didn’t miss and killed all but one.

    • Marty Davis

      Seriously, Richard, the liberals are responsible for no mental health policy in the United States.

    • Marty Davis

      Mental health laws need to be strengthened in this country to make it easier to commit these wack jobs.

  • ZoneDaiatlas

    Ms. Alex Wagner’s views on the 2nd amendment has been well documented since coming on the scene for past few years .  I have a clip of Alex Wagner on her views on the 2nd amendment which everybody needs to see…

    • Marty Davis

      Thanks, ZD! The guy was a nut. He used his mother’s Sig and Glock. Legally registered guns. No gun control law could have prevented the carnage.

    • Willw987

      Marty – your last sentence would have been better like this: “Connecticut has among the strongest gun control laws in the country.  Those gun control laws did not and could not have prevented the carnage.”  [I don’t remember what number I saw recently – not long before this tragedy I saw a ranking of the states in how strong their gun control laws were, and CT was in the top 5]

  • ZoneDaiatlas

    Wow!  Marty, Do you think the MSM will report this bombshell…  Everybody needs to read this!

    • Marty Davis

      Oh my! I doubt it. Not that it would have stopped this lunatic.

  • ZoneDaiatlas

    Goddamn!  LEAVE THE FAMILIES ALONE!   If they want to talk to the media they will, but for right now, LEAVE THEM ALONE!

  • Marty Davis

    I’m not going to write any more about this right now.  Will wait to get more criticism of media coverage.  Media were wrong right out of the gate.  Mother didn’t work at the school (reading between the lines I’m getting she was a barfly and gun nut).  Mother didn’t work at all with lots of alimony from rich GE ex-hubby. 

    The madman shot his way in, not “buzzed in” like NYT reported.  He used the Bushmaster assault rifle, not the Sig and Glock, to mow down the teachers and students with hollow point ammo, shooting at least one kid 11 times.

    There was nothing left of that kid, says my doctor husband.  Or much left of the rest of the victims shot multiple times with the military style semi-automatic weapon similar to the AR-15. 

    No wonder the ME was so shook up and probably in shock as was anyone else exposed to the scene as their jobs required. 

    I may speculate that the madman’s mother was about ready to go to court to force him to take his medication and perhaps commit the kid.  The kid may have known. 

    I know whereof I speak.  In 1978 my then-husband and I were making moves to commit my paranoid schizophrenic mother.  It’s like she had a sixth sense and just KNEW something was in the wind.  She sold the family home and bolted in the dead of night.  It took a few years to track her down.  She literally disappeared.  We had put her in an alcoholic treatment facility in Michigan but they discharged her because she was “scaring the other patients.”

    The deal was, police had to catch the wackos in the act of doing something bizarre before you could get them committed.  An impossibility and a Catch-22.  Doctors couldn’t order commitment if they hadn’t seen the patient.  Mental patients are notorious for refusing to take medication and to see psychiatrists because they don’t believe anything is wrong with them.

  • frannie

    I have watched as little as possible……

    • Marty Davis

      Me too. I am unable to write about it other than from a media critique angle.

  • Marty Davis

    Just days before the massacre Congress voted to excise the “demeaning” word “lunatic” from federal law.