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Wednesday, Apr 17 2013 11:00 PM

Media's errors shifted focus in wrong direction

By The Bakersfield Californian

One of the golden rules of daily journalism is this: Report the news, don't become the news. Sadly, after a day and a half of reasonably strong coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, much of Wednesday's reporting was about the media. And not in a good way.

CNN and The Associated Press were among the outlets forced to retract reports that a suspect had been arrested and would soon appear in federal court. Once again, the "get it first at any cost" mentality had reared its head. The lesson from the Tucson, Ariz., shootings in 2011, wherein several outlets erroneously reported that then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had been killed, apparently was forgotten.

Add the revelation that the New York Daily News had intentionally altered its front-page photo to remove a graphic component -- then, in an act of head-scratching arrogance, issued a statement implying other newspapers should have done the same -- and it seems the media still have much work to do in restoring credibility and confidence with a public that studies show simply does not trust them. We almost got it right this time. Almost.

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