Poor Reporting

A lot of news agencies are reputed to have banks of scanners, to ensure they’re hearing everything public safety agencies are doing. In a discussion of some “sensitive” frequencies used for surveillance in the area on a local scanner group, there were a few references to the local media having been aware of them for a long time.

So it’s easy to see how this happened. Some guy in a news agency heard the Coast Guard on an alternate channel of theirs discussing a “suspect vessel” firing shots, and knew that Obama was in the area at the time. Instant pressing news! Except it turns out that the Coast Guard was conducting a drill. It’s really pretty common practice. A few years ago I spent about 30 minutes glued to the scanner hearing about a bomb that had gone off in a neighboring town’s high school, and the enormous response by the police department and SWAT team, until someone finally said something over the air indicating that it was a drill. My local fire department is much better at stating “This is a drill!” as often as possible, to the point of annoyance.

It does seem a bit insensitive to have a training exercise on 9/11, but then again, not many people would be aware of it if the news agencies hadn’t blindly reported what they heard on the scanner.

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