Just minutes after reports emerged of a shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., members of the media quickly began to draw a dubious connection between the shooting and Planned Parenthood, even though the nearest clinic is about a mile away and there is no evidence it is involved.
In fact, Wednesday’s shooting took place at the Inland Regional Center, a facility that mainly provides services for the disabled. The three shooters remain at large and their motives are unknown.
Despite the general lack of information, members of the media and general public quickly moved to note that a Planned Parenthood exists in the general area of the shooting, thereby implying the shooting could be a copycat attack on Planned Parenthood similar to the one carried out last week in Colorado.
CNN, for instance, quickly speculated on the air that Planned Parenthood might be the target, even after acknowledging the shooting didn’t happen there.
CNN trying to politicize the shooting. Reporter: Not at a Planned Parenthood facility. "Is there one nearby?" pic.twitter.com/KMThbrloXi
— Hair (@SHannitysHair) December 2, 2015
“San Bernardino’s Planned Parenthood is about one mile south of the 1300 block of South Waterman,” mentions Marketwatch, for no clear reason. Raw Story similarly makes a throwaway mention to Planned Parenthood’s proximity. RT’s write-up mentions in its first paragraph the shooting’s location is “around the corner” from a Planned Parenthood.
Alan Colmes, a former Fox News contributor and host of the Alan Colmes Show on radio, saw fit to make an entire blog post about the Planned Parenthood’s proximity to the shooting, even though he explicitly notes the shooting didn’t happen there.
Dozens of random Twitter users and minor news sources ran with the narrative, suggesting the shooting could be a copycat attack despite the lack of any real evidence:
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) December 2, 2015
Thought: Did #SanBernardino shooters mean to hit Planned Parenthood but hit IRC instead? I'm told it's closeby.
— Kyle Jorrey (@KyleBJorrey) December 2, 2015
While several descriptions make it sound like the shooting location is reasonably close to a Planned Parenthood, in fact this isn’t the case at all. A quick look at a map reveals that Planned Parenthood is about a mile away, with a river, golf course, and dozens of buildings in the way:
— Savannah (@thesavvy) December 2, 2015
Other users quickly expressed dissatisfaction with the media for its early framing of the incident:
— Chris Marsh (@ChrisMarsh4) December 2, 2015
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