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Hearsay Accounts – “Columbine” – Dave Cullen

November 23rd, 2011 · No Comments · Crime, Journalism, Sociology, The Media

Initially, most witnesses refuted the emerging consensus. Nearly all described the killing as random. All the papers and the wire services produced a total of just four witnesses advancing the target theory Wednesday morning—each one contradicting his or her own description. Most of the papers advanced the theory with just one student who had actually seen it—some had zero. Reuters attributed the theory to “many witnesses” and USA Today to “students.” “Student” equaled “witness.” Witness to everything that happened that day, and anything about the killers. It was a curious leap. Reporters would not make that mistake at a car wreck. Did you see it? If not, they move on.

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