A Crash Course in Verification and Misinformation from the Boston Marathon Bombing
Josh Stearns
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Every time this topic is raised against and Alex Madrigal’s misleading article is invoked, it’s important to state once again: those of us listening to the police radio distinctly heard them give out the names of these suspects, spelling them letter by letter. A local TV station Twitter account repeated them. So there was nothing wrong with Reddit discussing this. Yes, understandably, Tripathi’s relatives were hurt that he was suspected of a crime. But they themselves had made him a very public figure because he was missing and wanted publicity in fact and attracted attention to his case.

What is really important for a free media and for free discussion on sites like Reddit is the right to be wrong without political correctness and fears of backlashes curbing free thought to get to the bottom of a crime. When Reddit discovered it had a false positive, it published a correction. That’s how the news business works. There is no way of “fixing” this issue or “learning of lessons” that don’t involve suppressing free thinking and free speech.

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