[Update] Dear Reporters,

I have a request.

Report.

In your “news” reports, don’t speculate. Don’t guess. Don’t assume. Report facts. Don’t share your opinion; save that for labeled opinion columns.

In preparation for a story, much of that is fine. And certainly you should question what you are told by witnesses or the police. “AK-47-style SKS” should be given the same credence as “the Venerian space aliens abducted me in their interstellar blimp.”

Let’s look at the Gilroy garlic festival shooting for a truly horrific example of “reporting” that should get a lot of people fired for sheer incompetence.

Shooter: 25-35yo white male. Turned out to be a 19yo punk who identified on social media as Italian-Iranian. When he’s not “reported” as Hispanic. Or there may have been two shooters. Or one shooter and an accomplice. Or something. Maybe. You should have left it at investigating a possible accomplice; I’d have been fie with that.

Clothing: “Army fatigues.” “Camouflage.” “Khakis.” Shorts. Green shirt. I still don’t know for sure.

Weapon: Assault rifle. Or semi-automatic rifle. AK-47. AK-47-style. AK-47-style SKS (WTF?). SKS. WASR-10. The last one currently appears to be correct based on a photo that someone on Twitter sent to a reporter who clearly had no idea what he was talking about. But the best was Nathan Francis of Inquisitr who morphed it into a machinegun by referencing a witness who specifically said it was semi-automatic.

Chumbucket was a Gilroy, CA resident. Then a Nevada resident. Then he may have been a CA resident again. Or just visiting family. Check his ID, assholes; what state issued it?

Chumbucket’s recommending reading included what NBC claimed was a “neo-Nazi” pamphlet… written 30 years before the National Socialists existed.

While he was reported as a CA resident, idiot reporters (apparently with the assistance of idiot cops) said he legally bought the weapon in NV, even though that transaction would be unlawful (due to CA’s age limits and the weapon type). It was only after the twitterverse and blogosphere pointed that out that the perp suddenly lived in NV. When he didn’t.

Added: And Feinstein is claiming the shooter “crossed into Nevada to buy the gun,” which would mean the transaction was unlawful.

I still don’t actually know how many victims were shot. Even this morning, I’m seeing “reports” from of dead and injured ranging from 11 to fifteen. But some reports imply some of those — and sometimes more — weren’t shot, but were injured in the rush to escape. Some stories seem to lump the perp in with the victim count. The only number I have any confidence in at all is the three consistently reported as dead by gun-fire. I’ve stopped looking.

Holy shit, news “reporters.” Heisenberg was more certain than you.

I get it. You want the scoop. You want to be the one to break the big news. But if what you “break” is falsehoods, mistakes, or speculation not identified as such, then all you’ve done is announce to the world, “I’m and idiot. Or a liar. Or gullible. I’m not sure of that either.”

Question shit before you publish or broadcast it. “AK-47-style SKS”? Look up “AK-47” and “SKS” with a search engine, and you might figure out why that’s clearly garbage. Cultivate sources who can explain things to you (I’ve made that offer to several “reporters” regarding firearm-related subjects; never has one taken me up on it) like how a Cal resident didn’t “legally” purchase a Cal-illegal firearm in another state.

Idiots like Senator Kneepads, prezzy candidate, are using your crappy reporting to drive “gun violence” policy and law. It behooves the nation for that discussion to fact-based (e.g- will more gun control laws actually deter a scumbag who apparently violated pretty much every gun control law there is?).

If you’re a reporter, report. Otherwise learn to flip burgers.

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