On November 1, 2013 there was a tragic shooting in terminal three at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) where a TSA agent was shot and killed. It must have happened around nine or 10 AM in the morning, because that’s when the first news alerts came out. It was amazing how many conflicting reports there were. One said that the gunman was shot and killed, another said he was put on a gurney and taken into custody. The number of people shot was also inaccurate.
In previous times it has been said that the first reports coming out of any sort of major news event were generally the correct ones, whereas those that followed later were attempts to cover-up the story, or meld the story to some political agenda. Today so much information comes out so quickly, and so many people are trying to get their 15 minutes of fame, that often they tweet and put out nonsense, and even the eyewitness reports are conflicting.
Therefore one has to ask; who can you believe? Should you believe the tweets from individual eyewitnesses, breaking news alerts, or the official storyline of the agency, or some government official? International
Fewer and fewer people today trust the government, and they don’t much believe anything that anyone from any agency ever says, and they especially don’t trust politicians. Yes, I understand is for good reason, but then again who can you trust? If the media is busy with their agenda whether it is a left-leaning news station, or a right-leaning one, then surely the news is jaded? Should we then turn to the original tweets by individual citizens at the event? What if there is a conflict?
What if there is someone behind the curtain trying to change the narrative? That is been known to happen too, for instance during the Arab spring.
There was an interesting post on the Strafor Intelligence blog on Halloween 2013 titled; “Analyzing Breaking Events,” by Scott Stewart which took a look back at news stories, breaking news stories, and reality based intelligence. He mentions The Donnelly Principle; the first story is not the true story, or the whole story. Well, I wonder if that principle is still valid today, let me explain.
You see, years before I would have completely agreed with the idea that the first report is not the true story, however, it seems with social media and eye-witnesses the very first reports are on average more accurate than the modified versions coaxed to skew perception in the media later. So, can we trust the later versions of the “official story” or the global media after the fact? I wonder if this component of intelligence gathering may have changed in our modern information age, think on this.