Sports radio personality Dan Patrick often jokes that the motto of his news team is, "Fast and wrong is still fast."
Too often these days that slogan could be used to describe real news organizations. The latest example came Wednesday when false reports of an arrest in the Boston Marathon bombing led the FBI to criticize the media.
Both print and television outlets, including CNN, Fox News and the Associated Press, reported the arrest. Multiple organizations then followed suit (including this one) attributing the story to one of the other news outlets. Then, everyone backtracked from that story when other sources disputed it.
The FBI said that since the bombing, "There have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate." The agency added that, "Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting.”