At the time of this writing — after 1:30AM — I’m not exactly sure what happened to Chris Dorner, who is or was the ex-LAPD officer who murdered the daughter of a LAPD police union rep and her fiancé, then eluded police for over a week.
Last night, from a cabin in Big Bear, California, he allegedly killed a police offer and wounded two more before he either set the cabin fire or the police bombed it. Multiple “reliable” news outlets reported he was dead, some even referring to his “charred body,” but then the LAPD invited over-eager reporters to have several seats by announcing they have not yet found a body — any body’s body, much less Dorner’s. In fact, they haven’t even been in the cabin because it’s still too damn hot. Dorner might be on the run, or might be dead. Your guess is as good as any reporter’s.
Wild misinformation during breaking news stories has become a common place. Yesterday, some broadcast journalists played the equivalent of “Eenie meenie miney mo” to guess whether Donner was still with us or had gone to the Great Beyond. Two months ago, TV reporters mis-indentified the shooter in the Sandy Hook school killing, naming his brother instead and even flashing his picture on the news. In a rush to be “first,” some journalists are acting irresponsibly, and losing credibility.
Other journalists are filling broadcasts with bad experts or pointless discussions. Last night, CBS was so desperate to avoid dead air they didn’t even bother to check to if a man claiming to be a member of the Big Bear State Fish and Game Department was actually a real source. He was actually a Howard Stern fan who claimed to be “Ronnie the Limo Driver,” who was “on his way to a block party” when he fired his gun at Dorner. When the reporter continued the interview after that outlandish statement, even the hoaxer was fed up. “You’re a real dumb ass” he told the reporter. “You still don’t know this is a prank?!”