Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Changing news stories isn't nearly as awesome as change Getter

Ian Bush, 22 year old and dead from a shot to the back of his head, but that's not the point here.

For the first time, I saw a news story being changed within a day of the initial report.

This morning, CBC Radio 1 reported an incident where a police killed a son of a woman in BC in an act of self defence. The women went ahead and filed a lawsuit against the police, not with the intention of prosecuting the officer, but rather to draw attention to cases like this where the killing could have been prevented and to encourage change in the police's internal structure. Upon hearing from the police that there are plans to refine this internal investigation system of the police, she promptly dropped the lawsuit, acknowledging that the financial burden is also a bit too much at the moment for her. At least this is what is said in the initial version of the story.

Come the afternoon news reports, the story is brought up again, only this time, new information such as the fact that the man whom the police has killed had the police pinned face down when the police shot him in the back of his head surfaced. Furthermore, this new didn't even bother to mention that the mother had learned about the change in the police system and only said that it's because of the financial concerns that she dropped the lawsuit. What the heck happened here?

A better question would be, why did what just happened happen and what does this say about the so called free media? Look, I'm not saying that this is a call to arms nor am I saying that nothing in the media can be trusted. What am I saying is that, it is important, even "free" countries, to always be critical of what you see or hear on the news, as there will always be bias in the material, intentionally or not. In more extreme cases, certain information may be taken out of the pictures and others added in (both are exemplified by this incident) to match a certain idea or to alter how the story is perceived. Sometimes this is done without outside influence, in other cases it could have been a way to keep itself from being criticized. No matter which case is true, the listener still has the responsibility of filtering stories and incident through his or her personal logic with extra care taken to be as unbiased as possible

Personally, I think it is more likely that the first version of the story is true, since she posses the least power to do anything if the story isn't, whereas by the nature of their existence, the police is supposed to be seen as a positive force and changing the story in this way certain has helped with that.

That said, I don't think this story in particular has been changed intentionally and is probably just an innocent case of innocent mismanagement.

Anyway, have a good day everyone and don't forget to think before you know!


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