This originally appeared on Ellen Gray's blog, ellengray.tv.
I'm almost afraid to add one word to the story of Friday's Connecticut school shootings for fear of adding to the wealth of the day's misinformation.
But having spent much of the afternoon watching what passed for coverage of this horror, I can't help but be struck by how little television news has learned since Columbine about these things.
As I write this, there are conflicting reports about the identity of the shooter, the location in which another body, said to be the shooter's mother, was found and other things that some networks sounded pretty sure about an hour or so ago.
I've seen multiple reruns of an interview with a remarkably well-spoken little girl whose interrogation by a reporter, aired on CNN, would have been described as "leading the witness," if it took place in a courtroom. And she's not the only child who was interviewed.
"When we speak with these young kids, we only do it with their parents' permission," says CNN's Wolf Blitzer, as if that somehow justified it.
On CBS, a Newtown (Conn.) parent was allowed to ramble on with rumors and on every channel I tuned to, there were so-called experts speculating about the motivation and mental state of a killer who hadn't been identified.
Yes, reporting is a messy business, and we all get it wrong sometimes. But knowing that, it's astounding how few times Friday we heard reminders about that and how very certain much of the reporting sounded.
Yes, we need to understand why these massacres continue to occur so we can figure out a way to keep them from happening. But instant analysis solves absolutely nothing.
At the very least, we can't know what we're dealing with until we know who we're dealing with.