David Carroll is more than an anchor at WRCB Chattanooga—he's a fan of the local broadcasting history there, and a curator of it too, authoring Chattanooga Radio and Television.
And so Carroll is a uniquely qualified source to comment on the mass shootings that claimed five service members' lives in the market, and on the media attention that followed. He took to his blog, Chattanooga Radio & TV, to offer his insights.
The post "Our City's Darkest Day" has been updated regulary since the shootings late last week.
Like many of you, I am exhausted. Those of us in the media have worked long hours. Those of you who don’t have been glued to your screens, large or small. My job is to gather and dispense information. In this particular case, I succeeded in some areas, and failed in others. People have kindly thanked me (and my colleagues) for what we did well, and believe me, they’ve been vocal about our mistakes. Eight hours of live television during breaking news requires a lot of unscripted words and statements. Careful as one may be, there are no do-overs. I assure you there was never any attempt to mislead or conceal. I have done the best I could with the information that was available at the time.
The explosion of social media has been a blessing and a curse. In essence, everyone’s a journalist now, and some are more reliable than others. On Thursday, rumors were being spread as fact, and photo-shopped images were all over the place. Now more than ever, you truly cannot believe everything you see. Ask any employee of a reputable news outlet, and they’ll tell you: half the job these days is sorting fact from rumor. On a breaking news day, it’s all-consuming.
But however fatigued I may be, I cannot emphasize enough that I didn’t shield a single person. I did not save a life. I didn’t dodge a single bullet. I didn’t stand out in the heat for hours on end, re-routing traffic, or securing a crime scene. I didn’t transport, or treat any of the victims of this mass attack. I didn’t have to inform anyone that one of their family members had died. I did not have to enter the residence of a person who had just carried out a terrorist attack, not knowing what traps might lie ahead. I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who carried out these duties. You saved our lives that day, just as you do every day. You go places the rest of us won’t go. Quite frankly, places we’re afraid to go.