And sure enough, it was exciting — and fast moving. That’s the upside. The downside is police aren’t always providing the straight scoop as things transpire in real time. Obviously, they aren’t trying to deceive anyone. Anyone dodging whizzing bullets and cacophonous bombs can be forgiven for not getting everything right down to the last detail. Most of us couldn’t get a boring sequence of events factually correct, let alone one that could potentially be life threatening.
Everyone makes mistakes, and certainly journalists are no exception. It happens. But the rule is always to get two sources if the information provided is not part of an official record and therefore verified.
Hard-bitten editors put it this way to their reporters: “If your mother tells you she loves you, get a second source!”
The New York Post and all other media outlets that jumped to flimsy Boston bombing conclusions should remind themselves of this timeless standard.