During Big Storm Sandy (they can’t seem to agree on a name), I blogged on the fake tweets, and how they were picked up by major news outlets. Can’t resist this post-script, wherein CNN, the very network that spread the fake tweets far and wide, is castigating (appropriately) the now called-out tweeter. It’s ironic that the CNN story points out that the Twitter community questioned the tweets, but fails to point out that CNN did not question the tweets before sending them out.
Sandy will prove a watershed event for the use of social media. There were plenty of good examples and bad examples, but there can be no disputing the essential role that digital communications and social networking play in disasters of all kinds and sizes. One sad reality is that there are bad, disgusting people out there, who for whatever reason decide to increase the misery of the world. Mr. Tripathi turns out to be one of those. But a deeper lesson is once again the self-correcting nature of Internet communications. If enough people are participating, the truth will come out, sooner than later. It’s in the nature of the instant interactivity. That instant interactivity does not apply to broadcast media where people are sitting in their homes, watching it, without really having the opportunity to say, wait, that’s not right. That’s why the burden is more on the broadcasters to get it right. And once again they failed.
What is saddest and most frustrating to me, is how they continually refuse to own up to their failings. The report the apology of the Mr. Tripathi for causing so much additional anguish. Where is CNN’s apology for doing the same?