Before St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announced that there was no grand-jury indictment against officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, he read his own list of charges–against the Internet and the media.
“The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation,” McCulloch said, “has been the 24 hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything, to talk about, following closely behind with the nonstop rumors on social media.” Some witnesses, McCulloch implied, were giving or changing their testimony to reflect what they’d heard or read in the news and social media rather than what they’d actually witnessed.
Obviously misinformation is a challenge for any criminal investigation, much less a racially charged one that becomes world news. That’s why you have a grand jury process–a lengthy and involved one in this case–to sift through the evidence.
And yes, social media can…
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