Incredibly sloppy reporting

December 21, 2006

I hate to keep picking on KING5, Seattle’s leading tv news provider, but they provide so many excellent examples of what is really bad about today’s reporting. Here’s one related to a refinery non-event last night in our area.

First of all, the flames which they so dramatically showed on tv under “Breaking News” and then on their website was nothing more than large flaring related to restarting a unit. The angle which they presented made it look like the darn refinery was burning up.

Worse, in the early part of the story they say: “It was not immediately clear what leaked or if there was a connection to the flames.”

Just two paragraphs later they quote company spokespersons as the leak being naptha and that the leak of naptha had no relation to the flaring event.

So, what is true? Obviously, the later paragraphs. They just added stuff to the bottom of the story as it came in and then never bothered to update what they had said earlier. This is the instant news world, combined with the focus on presenting dramatic attention getting video regardless of whether or not there is legitimate news behind it. Then trying to create some news to support the nice entertaining video they got. Ultimately, the only story was in the headlines–that one or two people they talked to from the town were a little curious about the flaring. That is breaking news? As Stossel would say, give me a break!

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