Photograph: Boston Globe
Editors Note: This was inspired by a submission from 'Kate'.

Whenever comparing different news sources, each piece can vary from the next. Sometimes it's a date difference, the events are not quite accurate, or a description of a witness misinterpreted, but usually it is conclusive that the facts are correct. We've seen this repeatedly concerning the case for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, many of which have yet to be cleared up.

Take a Fox News article that first reported the prime witness in relation with the Boston bombing suspects for example. The article states that “Danny” ran into a Mobil station and Tarek Ahmed, the man working behind the counter on that night, “described the young man as Caucasian.” However, it has been reported through many other news outlets that Danny is in fact a "Chinese entrepreneur".  In that same article the store clerk said, “they pushed him out of the car.” but another source states that Danny said, “I just [ran away]. I did it very fast, using my left hand and right hand simultaneously to open the door, unfasten my seat belt, jump out...and go.” 

With so many different outlets to relay information it can create a new interpretation of the story. In a Rasmussen poll conducted earlier this year, fifty-six percent of U.S. voters say they get most of their news from TV, twenty-five percent use the Internet as their main source of news, and ten percent still rely on newspapers. Studies have shown that most people trust their news resource. Fifty-six percent of all voters regard the news reported by the media as at least somewhat trustworthy, but that includes just six percent who think it is very trustworthy. Forty-two percent don’t trust the news media, and twelve percent believe the news it reports is not at all trustworthy.
In recent years, mainstream media outlets appear to be exposing mostly negative topics to keep viewers interested and increase ratings. The media has certainly shown many, if not all of the details of, and anyone that may be involved with, the Boston Marathon Bombing and the events that followed. 

In this fast paced world we live in today, current events are increasingly reported in a sloppy and inconsistent manner in what seems to be a mad dash to put something out. With current technology and information at our fingertips, you would expect readers to take the necessary steps to do their own research and verify facts for themselves, right? According to the Rasmussen poll mentioned earlier, that may not be the case. Readers may be settling for the information that's provided first without giving it further thought.

Is mainstream media news all about perception of the reader? Do you believe that news outlets always tell the truth, as best as they can with the information they're provided? Should they be held responsible for controlling the public perception but then later backtracking on their sources?


Gail Calhoun
7/13/2013 08:35:32 pm

It is time for the Media to be held accountable for deliberately misreporting. There can be a ulterior motive for this kind of story telling. As is the Case of this Boston Bombings tragedy for a certainty, the mis reporting point to manipulation at best. There was a law passed making it a crime to misreport news or deliberately print as fact-- a lie-so obviously the populace agrees with my statement. Otherwise there wouldn't be a law.

7/16/2013 09:32:04 am

The media colour the story according to what their target audience wants to hear. The various descriptions of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's appearance and demeanour at his arraignment is a good example. His demeanour varied from drugged (probably true, given his physical condition) to smug to blase. There was no account taken of the fact that he probably had not seen anything or anyone outside his cell for almost three months. Few referred to the nurse and wheelchair waiting in the wings.

7/17/2013 12:30:45 pm

So-o-o. How does RollingStone Magazine now fit into this?

7/17/2013 02:31:13 pm

There are just so few people that believe in the constitution, it is scary. His case hasn't even gone to trial yet, and he is proclaimed a "guilty monster"! People will say "there appears to be a lot of evidence against him, he is guilty" . His sister states that there is information that will prove he is innocent. Aren't we as Americans suppose to wait until all the facts are in before condemning him?
I think people are just too busy in their lives to stop and really think about issues that don't concern them personally, and they let the media guide their opinion.
It does seem like there is a lot of overwhelming evidence against him, but it needs to be presented in court to determine its validity.
That said the article is well written, and I felt he was presented in a sympathetic light. I don't know if all information is factual. I don't think the things she presented would lead a person to terrorism. The article is also prematurely written. If he is found guilty, then this article should of went to press. Unfortunately, most people are just going to remember the caption on the cover of the magazine! If it goes to trial, it is going to be so hard to find jurors that aren't biased.

7/17/2013 05:01:24 pm

People often forget too, that there are degrees of guilt. Just because you actually did something does not mean you are legally "guilty". There are degrees of murder, like first degree, second degree and manslaughter, precisely because there are degrees of "guilt" i.e., responsibility. Dzhokhar's freedom of choice in his circumstances as well as his ability to comprehend the consequences of his actions given his age, are key factors that must be considered -- if he did indeed do anything. These are the kind of nuances the media ignore precisely because their goal is to sell product, not to educate the people.


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