The week of the Boston bombings has been a cascade of embarrassments for the news industry. On Wednesday, CNN falsely reported that arrests had been made. The New York Post, never known as a pillar of journalist ethics, sunk to a new low with a front-page photo on Thursday of two young men, captioned, “Feds seek these two pictured at Boston marathon.” The only hitch: These weren’t the suspects. One of them says he’s now afraid to leave his house.
But should these media fails really surprise us? Those who have been paying attention know that media bosses have been in a race to the bottom for over a decade. As journalist Nate Thayer describes it, “Not only have all the editors and others responsible for ensuring balanced and accurate story, which was crucial to ensuring believable information, been eliminated in budget cutbacks, but the more overwhelming new reality is the age of instant in the new borderless digital information age.”