Gilbert Arenas Pulled a Gun on Me or: Premature Ejaculations of the Media

12Jan10

by The Great White Gypsy

It’s been a couple weeks since reports appeared online concerning Washington Wizards players Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton reenacting the OK Corral in the locker room. It was alluded to that a gambling debt dispute resulted in guns being drawn, and threats being made. A few days later, it turned out that there was neither anger nor loaded firearms involved.
My first thought when reading the original erroneous headline was “Washington D.C. basketball players pulling guns? That’s not news.” (it’s not racist; I have been to the Murder McDonald’s, and I have seen the light.) My next thought, besides hoping someone got fired for the slip, was self-righteous irritation. I attributed this to our current culture of instant gratification, and our dependance on quickly formed, poorly edited news stories taken from kindles and twitters and magical unicorns that shit pistachio ice cream (all equally legitimate and reliable news sources).
Then I remembered the presidential campaign of Harry Truman (see more below…or in a book somewhere) and I humbly apologized to the unicorn nearest me. Our fast-paced culture has it’s shortcomings, to be sure. But without that same pace, we wouldn’t have known the true story until weeks, maybe months later, after all plane tickets to the D.C. area were cancelled.
So here is a list of some other headlines that…jumped the gun…in history. Most of them are much more earth-shattering than a simple court-side misunderstanding, but just think about reading these when they were first published, and not learning until months later that they were wrong.
…god bless twitter.

1. “Passengers Safely Moved and Steamer Titanic Taken in Tow” (Christian Science Monitor, April 15, 1912)
If you didn’t know it before James Cameron left Kate Winslet alone on a floating door, you know it now. This boat sank. However, initial reports told people that not only was everyone aboard the Titanic alive, but the ship itself was intact and being towed to port. Cameron apologized for Titanic by making Avatar. Wonder what those damn Christian Scientists had to do…

2. “Dewey Defeats Truman” (Chicago Tribune, November 3, 1948)
In an attempt to make the deadline for the first edition, the Tribune decided to close the 1948 presidential election early and run their own headline. The picture of PRESIDENT Harry S. Truman holding up the Tribune with a smile can be seen in history books and political magazines to this day. Presumably, New York Governor Thomas Dewey took it pretty hard. Although among those most effected were his brothers, Huey and Luey, and close family friend Launchpad. Wait, what was I talking about?

3.”JFK Raps Fault-Finders In Nation” (The Lexington Leader, November 22, 1963)
Imagine picking up a newspaper to see how the president’s address went earlier that day, and seeing that it apparently went well (haha, take THAT you lousy republicans!). Then you call your friend to talk about it, and you’re friend’s like, “Dude, the president got shot in the face on his way to make that speech.” Something about a grassy troll and a large suppository, you aren’t really listening…your whole world’s upside-down face.

4. “Congressman’s Flight Reportedly Forced to Soviet Isle” (United Press International, September 1, 1983)
In the midst of the cold war, this report – stating that Georgia Congressman Larry McDonald and 268 passengers had been forced to land by Russian fighter planes – was stirring enough. Think of the outrage when it turned out that, rather than asking KAL flight 007 to land, those wodka-loving SOB’s put a missile up it’s ass, effectively creating conspiracy theories as big as JFK and 9/11. When asked why the incident occurred, the Russians began weeping, repeating only: “Fucking bear is fucking mother!”

5. “Kerry’s Choice: Dem picks Gephardt as VP candidate” (The New York Post, July 6, 2004)
I remember the slight confusion after this article was released. It turned out Kerry had actually picked John Edwards to run with him, and no one told the Post. Imagine Gephardt’s reaction, like the cool kids finally invited him to play kickball, then yelled, “Just kidding, loser!” and ran off. Now imagine Edwards reading that with his morning coffee. This explains the original title of his memoirs: “John Kerry is a cheating whore.”

6. “‘Alive!’ Miners beat odds” (USA Today, January 4, 2006)
We all remember this mining tragedy in West Virginia, and how dedicated the search and rescue operations were. Even with the entire country watching, multiple newspapers ran the story that 12 of the 13 trapped miners had survived. Turned out, there was a “slight miscommunication”, and in reality 12 had actually died. This leads me to the conclusion that either USA Today can’t tell the difference between dead people and the living (which would make them US Weekly), or that people in West Virginia really can’t count to 13. I mean, I saw Wrong Turn, but I thought that was just a story…

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