Fighting against fake news

Ed Murphy, Digital Managing Editor

The recent death of former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant brought out the worst in people during this digital age. False reports over the deceased and the number of deceased ran rampant through various social media sites. The false reports from major publications is what fuels the “Fake news” era and causing major distrust between the public and the media.

This past Sunday saw the passing of sports icon Kobe Bryant. Preceding all of the tweets that paid due respects to the legend, there were tweets from major publications regarding the incident. The popular media outlet, TMZ, was the first to report on the crash. The outlet was so early in their reporting that the next of kin to Kobe Bryant had yet to be notified. 

The now widowed wife found out her husband and daughter passed away from a celebrity gossip site. Disgusting. An unimaginable feeling. 

TMZ is not the only outlet guilty of faulty reports. Per the New York Times, ABC’s chief news correspondent Matt Gutman, reported that not only Kobe and his daughter Gianna had passed, but that four of his children also perished in the accident. 


This is not an isolated moment of accurate reports taking a back seat to the disgustingly inaccurate first to reports. 

On Jan. 7, Iran launched ballistic missiles at military bases in Iraq. The bases, Ain al-Assad and Irbil, house both American and Iraqi troops. I originally heard the first report on satellite radio. The hosts did not do extensive reporting on the matter due to the breaking nature of the news.

  Throughout the night I paid attention to Twitter to see many teets contradicting other tweets. Somewhere saying American casualties were in the hundreds while others were in the tens and some saying no casualties and minimal damage. 

A stream of constant misinformation on my timeline. When the media is under constant fire for reporting “fake news,” journalists have to be cognizant of that. Being the first to report on a story will only be useful if the report is factual. It is irresponsible to do so otherwise.

Journalists need to show restraint. In the Bryant death, The Los Angeles Times and NBC News both tweeted that they were aware of the situation and that they were gathering information. Much like my radio hosts, they were not aware of the full story so they bit their tongues until they knew whole story.

Restraint is needed in times like these. That’s what the public deserves. 

Ed is a senior Art major and is the Digital Managing Editor for The Voice.