Under the Hat: Double Check - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Under the Hat: Double Check

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The chaotic and sad events in Boston this week are once again a reminder of the need to trust your source of information as well as a reminder that those who give out the information must double check what they are doing.

The two brothers apparently at the center of the Boston Marathon bombing became persons of interest early in the week.

At some point I'm sure it became clear to investigators that they had enough to issue an arrest warrant.

But somebody made the leap of faith for that to mean that an arrest had actually been made.

When that person told as much to CNN, in a matter of moments the word went spiraling through the virtual universe.

Many other news operations picked up on that and without verifying the source directly went ahead with a story that CNN was announcing an arrest.

Hours later the police brass in Boston stepped forward to say that, contrary to the uproar, the cart was firmly in front of the horse and no arrests had been made.

I'm sure news organizations will stand behind the fact that technically they did not report an arrest but rather reported that CNN is reporting an arrest.

But that's not good enough, especially in an age where a social media tinderbox needs only the slightest of informational flames to spark a firestorm.

Unlike the insurance ad that goes "they wouldn't say it on the Internet if it wasn't true. Where did you hear that? The Internet" in the real world there is far more heat than light out there.

A lot can be misunderstood in the fog of war, but events like this week in Boston are bad enough without us having to wonder if what we're hearing happened actually did.

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