Facts Schmacts

By Eric Zanzucchi (@ericzanzucchi)

“10 shot at Empire State Building”, “Cops: Two dead after Empire State shootout”, and “Two dead, nine wounded in Empire State Building shootings, police say” were three of the headlines I read as I was reading through the news this morning. My initial reaction is one that a lot of people probably had. There had been another mass shooting.

I then read the articles to realize that this wasn’t the case. The suspect, Jeffrey Johnson, shot his former employer who he had a lengthy dispute with while being employed for him. That dispute continued after he was laid off. He fled on foot followed by an alert citizen who followed him for a block. In front of the Empire State Building the citizen hailed two policemen and then the suspect shot at police.

All these titles led me to believe that the attack occurred inside the Empire State Building, yet it was in front of a building a block away. More importantly, these titles led me to believe that the crime was an act of terrorism which couldn’t be further from the truth. By citing the Empire State Building you’re alluding to a crime where lives are lost in Manhattan. What’s the only other incident that my mind is going to relate to this? They’re really going to name the Empire State Building in all three titles solely because the shooting happened in the same neighborhood? I’ve openly criticized in this blog already about the flaws of immediacy in reporting versus accuracy. But this type of titling is just pure sensationalism.