Reporters can also claim, quite legitimately, that we rush to correct our errors, which are often the errors of our sources, passed on by us in good faith. Certainly those defenses are available to media that named Ryan Lanza as the Newtown shooter; the story was corrected later, and it did indeed originate with law enforcement. If you can’t trust the cops, who can you trust?

Fair enough. But that just makes me question the judgment of the law enforcement officials who provided Ryan Lanza’s name to reporters so soon after the Newtown crime. What purpose did that serve? There was no manhunt; for all the police knew, the perpetrator was dead…

I don’t think it’s asking too much of the U.S. media, and the law enforcement agencies that feed us information, to learn from recent experience and to act on those lessons. Perhaps the media should not identify alleged shooters absent on-the-record confirmation, as opposed to citing unnamed sources as CNN, for one, did in Newtown.