NPR posts disclaimer on report saying it may be getting the facts wrong

by Peter Heck · Apr 22nd, 2021 8:18 am
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Last Updated Apr 23rd, 2021 at 9:27 am

In its coverage of the Columbus police shooting on Tuesday, National Public Radio offered a disclaimer alongside its reporting.

The piece that covered details of a policeman shooting 15-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant as she lunged with a knife toward another black girl, was entitled "Columbus Police Shoot and Kill Black, Teenage Girl." But at the bottom, NPR included this caution:

"This is a developing story. Some facts reported by the media may later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene, and we will update as the situation develops."

Prior to being updated, the taxpayer-funded network failed to mention that Bryant was wielding a knife as she launched herself toward other bystanders during the confrontation until several paragraphs into the story.

While some found it odd that a news entity would willfully post details and "facts" about a case until they were sure those things were accurate, NPR defended its disclaimer.

"We believe responsible news outlets should acknowledge that reports can change as stories develop and more facts become known. We are thinking of our audience," NPR said in a statement.


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