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LAX Shooting Frames Latest MSM/Twitter Breaking-News Fail

It’s by now an all-too-familiar breaking news scenario. Something wholly or partially incorrect gets tweeted out; one or more mainstream media (MSM) outlets pick up on that information; the information is then proven to be false.


Today’s snarled outlet is Canada’s national newspaper, the Globe and Mail. As horrible shooting events unfolded this morning at LAX’s Terminal 3, the paper picked up on a since-deleted tweet from @HeadIineNews (spelled with a capital “i” in place of the usual small “l” in headline). Per a quick summary report on Gawker:

The Globe and Mail published a shocking report attributed to the LAPD that former NSA chief Michael Hayden had been shot dead in the incident, and that a “radical Christian group” had claimed responsibility.”

Canada’s Sun News Network and the BBC both repeated the hoax report without a source, and all have since scrubbed the claim from their sites.


Inadvertently dragged into this on Twitter was GigaOM’s Matthew Ingram, who picked up on the Globe and Mail report and has since been outlining both apologies and explanation.

The correction at the bottom of the G&M piece reads as follows:

Editor’s Note: In an earlier version of this story, The Globe incorrectly included as fact the hoax that a former NSA chief had been killed.

Inexplicably, the Twitter account that sparked all this, which at the time listed “Breaking News” in the Profile Name field, has now changed that to read “Joe Biden”.


Update (4:30 p.m.):
The offending Twitter account has now been deleted.

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