No Shooting at D.C. Navy Yard : What Outlets were Wrong - iMediaEthics

iMediaEthics publishes international media ethics news stories and investigations into journalism ethics lapses.


Home » Corrections»

Colored lithograph published by E. Sachse & Company, Baltimore, Maryland, circa 1862. (Via Wikipedia)

There was no shooting at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard this week, even though the police investigated a phone call concerned about
“possible sounds of gun shots.”

There was “no evidence of a shooting or injured personnel,” the police tweeted.

Media outlets however wrongly indicated there had been a shooting, as opposed to the truth – that someone mistakenly thought they heard shots.

For example, Fox News aired a report claiming “Active Shooter Confirmed in D.C. Navy Yard,” Politico’s Dylan Byers reported. Later, Fox News said there was “no confirmation of shots fired.” Apparently the error was because of a State Department Operations Center bulletin that said the National Military Command Center confirmed there was an active shooter.

“Fox News said that its reporting was accurate but that the government bulletin it reported on was not,” the Washington Post reported.

“Other news outlets, including CNN and MSNBC, reported that there had been reports of a shooting, but stipulated that there was no evidence to confirm these reports,” Politico reported. “The incident was widely feared to be a repeat of the 2013 Navy Yard shooting that left 12 victims and the shooter dead.”

Washington, D.C. Fox-affiliate WTTG tweeted wrongly “Multiple sources confirm there was a shooting at Navy Yard just after 7:30 a.m,” the Washington Post noted.

Individual reporters also tweeted that there was a shooting.  Reporter Paul Wagner tweeted:   “2 law enforcement sources say TWO armed men seen inside #NavyYard bldg 197, 1 possible victim.” (The Post noted “there were no armed men, other than police, and no victim” in that building. Reporter Melanie Alnwick tweeted:  “Eerie to see helicopters over #NavyYard once again. Source confirms shooting to @fox5newsdc.

WTTG’s online news story stated that its “assignment manager Doug Buchanan says multiple source sconfirm that there was a shooting at the location just after 7:30 a.m.”

According to Mashable, “The Associated Press initially cited an unnamed official who said shots had been reported in a building, but that information was never confirmed by authorities.”



Submit a tip / Report a problem

No Shooting at D.C. Navy Yard : What Outlets were Wrong

Share this article:

Comments Terms and Conditions

  • We reserve the right to edit/delete comments which harass, libel, use coarse language and profanity.
  • We moderate comments especially when there is conflict or negativity among commenters.
  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *