The script followed by the media during the coverage of the shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington is an all-too-familiar one. The story has unfolded in confusing, conflicting pieces, in real time, in front of viewers and on Twitter. And, just as in Newtown, and in Boston, key mistakes have been repeated.
The Navy itself proved to be a chief source of news at the outset:
After that, all of the usual elements began falling into place. Cable news soon went wall-to-wall, and networks broke in with brief special reports.
There were the tweets quoting police scanners, and the admonitions for them to stop, since they have proven in the past to be sources of a great deal of dubious information:
There were the conflicting reports, based on anonymous sources, about the number of fatalities:
There were the contradictory stories about whether or not there was one or more shooter--mostly stemming from a Washington Post report:
Then, NBC and CBS both got the name of the shooter disastrously wrong.