Uncut: Manti Te'o's story a reminder of danger of race to be first

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by JOHN McCAA

Bio | Email | Follow: @johnmccaa

WFAA

Posted on January 18, 2013 at 9:03 PM

Once again, the dangers of trusting social media have been made clear. And once again, we seem to be ignoring the lesson.

It's this week's Uncut commentary.

Manti Te'o's story was just irresistible. His grandma dead, and his girl friend dead, all within 24 hours. A big, powerful football star enduring the unendurable throughout the gridiron season.

His grandmother did die, but the girlfriend never existed.

It was all a hoax, and some accuse Te'o of being involved.

He may have been, I don't know... But it doesn't excuse the reporters who all season asked no questions, and checked no facts until earlier this week.

Being first with story is great, but more than anything else you have to be right.

Brian Ross of ABC News - usually a stellar investigator - tried to tie the Colorado theater shooter, James Holmes, to a Colorado tea party group when that story first broke. It was not true.

When Hurricane Sandy hit, an East Coast blogger fired off several outright lies, claiming floodwater was filling the New York Stock Exchange and that Manhattan power was being shut off. Some media outlets, wanting to be first, spread those lies.

Because social media is always out there and always updating, there is a constant pressure to get new information out as quickly as possible.

However, being first and wrong makes you worst and last.

Social media is great, but true or false, until it's checked, it's just rumor -- gossip.

Manti Te'o's story was irresistible. It sounded like a movie. And who knows, maybe one day it will be.

Those are my thoughts, tell me yours at jmccaa@wfaa.com.

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