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CNN on Christopher Dorner

by on February 13, 2013

            On Tuesday night before Obama addressed the Union CNN was covering the Christopher Dorner story. If you are unfamiliar with the story Dorner is an ex-LAPD officer who has been linked with recent police killings. He fled LA and took refuge in Big Bear, California. Last night there was a stand off in a cabin and CNN was covering it live.

While watching the Dorner story unravel I noticed that CNN’s host Anderson Cooper kept on saying that they have heard some information from sources but are not releasing any of them until they know whether or not it is true. Cooper went on to add “Early reports often turn out to be fake so we want to be careful about what we share here” this is relevant to what we have been talking about in class. Cooper could have said what he has heard but instead he is waiting to see if it really is true or not.  I didn’t like how he said that on TV though. I feel like Cooper should have just stayed quiet and not told the public that.

I think it’s a good example of Teleology because he knows some information but he has thought of the consequences and therefore he doesn’t feel that he should share the stories that he has heard. If I was Anderson Cooper I think that I would have just stayed quiet until I had more information, then when I have confirmed he source I would have said it, instead of saying I have heard some things from some sources but I’m not going to share them at this time. I don’t think that was fair to the public.

Here is a link to a CNN story on the situation: http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/13/us/lapd-manhunt/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

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3 Comments
  1. Liz Sinclair permalink

    The point you mention above reminds me of the case study we discussed the other day in class. A candidate from an Independent Party accuses the Republican candidate of pedophilia the day before the election. This independent candidate calls you, the journalist, and notifies you of this information. After calling sources, no information is clarified. Do you, as the journalist, run the story anyway?

    LIke Anderson Cooper, the journalist, could mention the information and explain that sources are still not released and the accusation remains unconfirmed. If published however, this notion could possibly sway the public’s vote, simply by word association (the Republican Candidate and Pedophilia). I don’t think I would run the story. I think I would wait, like you mentioned above, until I have confirmation and sources to back me up. Using teleology, I understand there will be some consequences if I wait to run the story but I think they may outweigh the consequences if I do it immediately.

  2. Kristina Kulyabina permalink

    I agree in terms of Cooper keeping quiet because I do not see the point of revealing the fact that you have sources that do not even guarantee truth. I always wondered why journalists did this, especially within scientific articles. If you don’t know whether or not a fact or a study is 100% true, then why risk misleading the public? I don’t mean to get off topic but just the other day I read an article in the New York Times stating that advanced breast cancer may be rising among young women. However, the second paragraph of the lead also states that “more research is needed to verify the finding, which was based on an analysis of statistics, the study’s authors said. They do not know what may have caused the apparent increase…..Some outside experts questioned whether the increase was real, and expressed concerns that the report would frighten women needlessly.” If this report might frighten women – do harm to the public – then why publish the information now? Would you publish it or wait until researches conducted more studies and provided you with a more reliable follow up? I don’t think journalists are taking teleology into consideration with cases like these because they are not thinking of what would happen if the information was verified and it was actually wrong. It seems like mostly journalists just publish or in Coopers case state on TV the most “developing” news story even though it has not formed into a 100% verifiable and truthful story.

  3. I don’t think it was very fair of Cooper to mention this either, but he seems to be playing Devil’s Advocate. He doesn’t want to take part in the ratings game that has been happening so much in journalism as of late, by trying to get information out the quickest in this day and age of technology and instant gratification. He mentions the fact that he doesn’t want to say the wrong thing, but the fact that he mentions it seems to be done just so he can keep people watching, worried to miss the next big plot point in a story that was sensationalized all over the country. He seems like he is doing his best to be an ethical journalist, but at the same time, keeping more than “the truth” in mind with what he is revealing. If he really just didn’t want to be wrong, he wouldn’t have said anything in the first place.

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