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Making the sausage

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
April 17, 2013 1:45:53 PM PDT
So what the federal agent happened today with the "confirmed" reports that an arrest was "imminent" in the Boston Marathon bombing? Or the reports from some news organizations that an arrest had been made?

Clearly, some progress seems to have been made in the deadly bombings. But otherwise reliable sources apparently told several reporters at several news orgs that authorities had identified someone from surveillance video - and they were specific, saying it was a camera at the Lord & Taylor store - and that an arrest was forthcoming.

Was it completely wrong? Was it a little wrong? Was the media being used to send a message to the person in that video? We just don't know.

And yes there will be much grinding of teeth and discussion about the rapid-fire way information is now disbursed - over social media, over the air, everywhere. In the olden days, which is to say just a few years ago, much of the sausage-making part of gathering information for news stories would not have made it on air or into print.

But now everyone seems to want it now, or earlier than now, and so the pressure to get it first often trumps the responsibility to get it right. It should not be like that. Getting it right is much more important than being first. I'm just sayin'.

Or, as Mark Twain said, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while truth is putting its shoes on."

And, with that in mind, our Diana Williams and Jim Dolan are in Boston once again, looking for the truth, and with the latest on the investigation, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, we'll have the latest on the increased security in New York ? including at tonight's opening of the Tribeca Film Festival, which was founded after the 9-11 attacks to support Lower Manhattan. Ironic, yes? And we'll have any new developments in the two ricin-laced letters in Washington - one sent to a Senator, the other to Pres. Obama.

Also in Washington, we'll have reaction to the Senate's rejection of a bipartisan effort to crack down on guns. Despite a huge campaign by gun control advocates, expanding federal background checks to include more gun buyers.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho (in for Sade Baderinwa) and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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