Just last week a gunman open fired at the LAX airport, killing a security guard and injuring two others. The damage could have been much worse had it not been for the quick response of airport police. The terrifying incident was reported live by bystanders who used social media outlets such as Twitter and Instagram to relay their experiences.
All major news channels picked up the violent and tragic story, each shedding its own perspective and suggesting motives. However, it quickly became evident that not all reports were verified. LA Times had to retract their false statement that the gunman was dead due to their rush to be the first to put out information.
In crisis situations such as the shooting at the LAX airport, there is no doubt that today’s media outlets are timely in relaying information to their audience. However, there is a major problem with the accuracy of this information. While it may seem better to have some information available to the public, rather than none, there can be disturbing side effects if news outlets provide incorrect information.
Then, almost one week after the shooting, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck commented on the incident, requesting improved “curbside camera surveillance at LAX, noting that police “struggled” to determine how a gunman arrived at the airport in last week’s deadly rampage.” By not having a firmer and quicker response to the LAX shooting, the incident has left room for speculation. There has been a public outcry on what should be taken from the shooting, and what security issue is most pressing.
While it is evident that the media is quick to respond to crisis situations, the quality with which they address tragedies such as the LAX shooting needs to be considered. The public must remember that a quick response by news broadcasts doesn’t necessarily mean that the information is reliable, and a delayed response by officials most certainly doesn’t help crisis situations either.
-Meghan Carey, Jade Lester