Reporters for MSNBC and CNN, among other news outlets, stormed into the apartment of the San Bernardino shooting suspects, rifling through belongings and sharing personal information of the shooters’ relatives on live television, according to the New York Times.
Though early reports indicated that the landlord Doyle Miller invited journalists from MSNBC, CNN, Fox, and BBC into the property, in an interview with CBS News, the landlord who had to open the apartment with a crowbar, stated he was trying to simply show the opening of the apartment when MSNBC and CNN reporters rushed in with others following suit.
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) December 4, 2015
CNN analyst and former NYPD Detective Harry Houck was incredulous as he watched the scene unfold, criticizing law enforcement for not cornering off the scene with crime scene tape to preserve evidence, noting that CNN’s live broadcast aired no evidence of dusting for fingerprints and the amount of documents left lying around the apartment.
“If the police are watching this right now, they better be on their way down there to be able to stop this from happening,” Houck told CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. “This is … I’m shaking over it. That’s how irresponsible this is from law enforcement by letting this happen.”
While Houck had critical words for CNN, MSNBC’s reporters were being tried in the court of public opinion on Twitter for sharing sensitive data on live television, including the driver’s license and social security for suspect Syed Farook’s mother, Rafia.
good thing MSNBC didn’t broadcast this in a gun-filled country caught up in a frenzy of muslim bashing ht @istheguy pic.twitter.com/AeWiXnmKcM
— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) December 4, 2015
People were equally disturbed by the MSNBC reporter rifling through the toys and belongings of the infant daughter of the San Bernardino shooting couple. At one point, even MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell seemed to feel uncomfortable with the amount of information MSNBC reporter Kerry Sanders was sharing on the air, stating, “Let’s make sure we don’t see the children, let’s not show the child. Let’s cut away from that.”
Watch MSNBC’s coverage here:
For CNN’s coverage, click here.
Both MSNBC and CNN state that they had permission from the FBI; however, local law enforcement seemed to think the location was still part of an active investigation. According to the LA Times, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Olivia Bozek said, “My understanding is it was an active crime scene,” leaving some to wonder if the MSNBC and CNN journalists had just tainted an active crime scene.
In a later news conference, officials revealed that the FBI is now officially investigating the San Bernardino shooting as a “terrorist incident” as local law enforcement stated the case was officially being handed over to the federal agency. It is unknown if the actions of CNN and MSNBC could impede prosecution of any other people linked to the mass shooting, leading many social media users to express their frustration with CNN and MSNBC’s tactics.
So FBI now investigating as terrorism. They’ll undoubtedly find some CNN and MSNBC fingerprints on the walls. Go get them, guys.
— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) December 4, 2015
— Miss Adele McFly (@PennyDreadful81) December 4, 2015
Even if MSNBC and CNN had permission to enter the premises, many feel the zeal they displayed in doing so bodes the question of whether or not their actions signal the downfall of journalistic integrity. MSNBC and CNN both have already come under fire in the past for airing what many deem as opinion rather than fact-based news.
Did MSNBC and CNN go too far today? Tell us what you think.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.]