Later reports have identified the shooter as 24 year-old graduate student and PhD candidate, James Holmes, who was arrested in the Century 16 Theater parking lot shortly after the melee.
Although any reason he had to commit such a heinous murder spree remains unknown, once again we see the media, ABC’s Brian Ross specifically leaping to assign blame and point fingers at those who have absolutely no connection to the tragic murders.
In the haste to build ratings, make a profit and get a scoop, an innocent man living in Aurora who unfortunately has a similar name was tied to the shooting with no one at ABC contacting either him or the Tea Party in Aurora to make any confirmation. As it turns out, the man linked by Ross is in his 50’s and has absolutely no connection to the shooter 3 decades younger.
ABC has issued an apology, but that doesn’t do much for the innocent man who has received so many hate calls over his telephone morning that he has had to have his telephone shut off.
While an apology is the least of what ABC should issue, it does not remove Brian Ross’s erroneous linkage that has been seen and continues to spread, those people already seeking any reason to continue the false claims of the Tea Party being out of control gun nuts ready to latch onto any weak claim they can to further their own hate.
This is not the first time the media or ABC has engaged in such ‘yellow journalism,’ “biased opinion masquerading as objective fact that often involves sensationalism, distorted stories, and misleading images for the sole purpose of boosting newspaper sales and exciting public opinion.”
Can we forget how CBS’s Dan Rather became embroiled in such allegations in the 2004 Presidential campaign with the “False but accurate” memo scandal he purported to have uncovered that resulted in his resignation?
Those are hardly lone examples of such media malfeasance. We saw it in 1995 with horrific bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma as media and then President B.J. Clinton quickly leveled allegations that popular conservative radio broadcaster Rush Limbaugh was at fault, following that same false connection again in 2011 immediately after the tragic shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in January of that year.
We saw it in 2010 when a lone man flew his aircraft into an FBI building in Austin Texas and ramblings he left in a note were erroneously linked to Tea Party involvement, even though his friends that knew him said he was in no way connected to the Tea Party.
We saw it in 2009 when MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer doctored a report linking a Black Man attending a second amendment rally blocks away and hours before an Obama town-hall meeting to claim White Racism directed at Obama.
With little known about this shooter, ABC was quick on the gun to link him to the Tea Party. The apology later means little as the link was made on national television to falsely link someone not associated in any manner with the event to the heinous act.
There is no effort to confirm before such reports are quickly aired.
With a growing move towards legalizing marijuana, there is no effort to discover if maybe the shooter was also a pot smoker.
There is a Private Investigator making claims of Holmes being part of the Black Bloc group loosely involved at Occupy Rally’s, but is his link any stringer than what ABC’s Bran Ross used? Until such evidence becomes available, I can only list his claim as specious as well.
In the wake of the erroneous ABC report, the Colorado Tea Party released the following statement:
“The Colorado Tea Party Patriots and the Tea Party Patriots are saddened to hear of the death and wounding of theater goers in Aurora, Colorado. The member of the Colorado Tea Party Patriots, Jim Holmes, age 52 is not the same person who has been identified as the shooter.”“Shameless and reprehensible” is the least of what comes to mind. Whether a result of an effort to scoop others or a deliberate attempt to create a negative link, it is irresponsible and must be stopped. There is no excuse for these continuing false linkage claims to the Tea Party or conservatives in America.
“The attempts of some media organizations to characterize the shooter as a Tea Party member without having made any effort to contact our organization are shameless and reprehensible.”
The claims are lies and the media should not be permitted to hide behind their first amendment right to “freedom of the press.”
I have no idea what will come of this false report, but Brian Ross should resign or be fired as well as any other “journalist” who makes such false claims. They have happened too often now to believe they are just slips.
They are bright and shining examples of why many refer to our media as the “Jurassic Media” and many people no longer buy the newspapers and viewership continues to decline.
A free media is essential to a free country. But biased media stretching news reports to false or specious allegations with no verification is nothing more than manipulative journalism.
Little wonder many people look down at journalists.