Late last night, after writing a long post about the Boston manhunt, I noticed that Wolf Blitzer had done another interview on CNN with the Watertown police chief. The headline on the interview suggested that the chief would lay out the details of the events in Watertown.
So I wondered if the chief had finally admitted that the manhunt failed to find its target even though that famous backyard boat appears to have been near the center of the 20-block search perimeter, only 2/10ths of a mile (a 4-minute walk) from where the suspect dumped his getaway car. I watched the whole interview to find out.
Oddly, when Blitzer got to the point of discussing the manhunt, he quickly moved ahead to the capture (“let’s fast forward”). Maybe he knew that it would be embarrassing for the chief to discuss the police’s failure to find the suspect.
Many years ago, when I worked in the Los Angeles County court system, I discovered that the news media always tend to get some of their facts wrong. Reporters would often cover trials that I was observing first-hand and then write stories that were inaccurate in some way.
No doubt, this inaccuracy is usually the result of simple human error. But other times, reporters ignore certain facts because they don’t fit the overall story they’re telling, or because certain facts would embarrass their sources (e.g. police chiefs who want to make their department look good).
The story we’re being told about the Boston bombing is that the police did a wonderful job protecting the citizens of Boston.
The fact that they couldn’t find a 19-year old college kid, hiding a couple of blocks from where he left his getaway car, doesn’t fit the narrative. (It’s also part of the narrative that it was reasonable to shut down a city of 4 million people in order to protect it.)
We are supposed to admire and be grateful to the people who protect us, whether it’s the police, the FBI or the U.S. Marines. Most of us are, up to a point. But some think that stories reflecting poorly on our protectors should be avoided, if possible. It’s almost as if we should behave or be treated like children who mustn’t question the competence or good faith of our parents.
Wolf asks how the suspect escaped at 10:18 and “fast forwards” at 11:28, not having received much of an answer: