Dorner manhunt: San Bernardino Sheriff's asks media to stop tweeting, media rebel
There was a side story to Tuesday's Big Bear manhunt and shootout with suspected murderer and fugitive ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner. It was a request — believed to be unprecedented in Southern California — for media outlets to stop using Twitter to track the continuing manhunt, for fear of officer safety.
As events played out on local and cable television news, "Big Bear," "SWAT team" and "cabin" made it to the top of Twitter's national trending list. #Dorner was at the top of the trends list in Los Angeles.
That prompted the department to issue its unusual request late Tuesday afternoon: Please stop tweeting.
Why? KPCC placed a call to the department to ask why, but hasn't received a response yet. The tweet, and subsequent tweets thanking news outlets that complied, have been deleted.
It's possible the department wanted to preserve the tactical secrets of its officers and those of other law enforcement agencies believed to be convening on the cabin where Dorner was presumed to be holed up — and, presumably, monitoring events outside via social media or TV. (The department also asked TV helicopters to back out of the area so as not to reveal deputy deployments.)
Some media outlets — such as CBS TV affiliates — complied with the request to resist tweeting. Others — like KPCC — did not.
Following are some of the tweets in response to the department's request.
What do you think of the request? Do you think it was an attempt by a law enforcement agency to manage the media reports of its actions? Or do you think it was a legitimate attempt to protect the safety of its officers in a perilous situation? Sound off in the comments below.
San Bernardino Sherriff's Department asks media to stop tweeting, the response
In the midst of the flurry of news activity Tuesday afternoon came a request from the San Bernardino District Attorney's office: please stop tweeting. "Big Bear," "SWAT team" and "cabin" had made it to the top of Twitter's national trending list as public interest in the case increased.
Storified by 89.3 KPCC· Tue, Feb 12 2013 16:47:55
The sheriff has asked all members of the press to stop tweeting immediately. It is hindering officer safety. #DornerSB District Attorney
After posting regularly, the Press-Enterprise stopped tweeting about the manhunt.
Law enforcement officials have asked the media to stop tweeting about the #Dorner case, fearing officer safety. We are complying.The Press-Enterprise
After a few minutes, they clarified the nature of their coverage, but the public still wasn't happy about their decision.
We are going to tweet broad, non-tactical details, as per the San Bernardino DA's request.The Press-Enterprise
@PEcom_news do you do anything aside from licking the boots of your local government officials?Jared Cuffe
@PEcom_news It is not hindering officer safety, that was a lie you bought hook, line and sinker. Did you even ask how? #Dorner #doyourjobDaniel Fitzsimmons
Later, CBS Los Angeles complied with the request.
Per @SBCountyDA request we are complying and will not tweet updates on #Dorner search. Watch #live coverage on #KCAL9, #CBS2, @CBSLA.comCBS Los Angeles
There is a question whether police have ever asked media to stop tweeting about a news event. Even after they stopped tweeting, the Press Enterprise kept updating their site, and TV coverage continued.
so the San Bernardino sheriff's office has asked the media not to tweet about the Dorner siege -- is this a first?Mathew Ingram
With all due respect to law enforcement officers on #Dorner manhunt: Press, do your job. Your obligation is to the public, not the state.Sam Gustin
Media blackouts have been used in the past. In the instance of kidnapped reporters, outlets like the New York Times and NBC have asked other media to refrain from reporting on the incidents, because of safety concerns for the reporter.
The San Bernardino DA's office did not reply to a question posed through Twitter.
@sbcountyda Question from the media: How is Twitter more of a hindrance than TV/radio coverage?P. Kim Bui
(A sidenote, KPCC has continued coverage. Some audience response to our decision)
fuck yeah @KPCC thank you for exercising your Free SpeechAnna
@KPCC @CBSLA @PEcom_news good for you, they are disgraces those who stop reporting liveFREE ALL TEH INFO
@KPCC @CBSLA @PEcom_news You get a gold star KPCCLast Resort
@KPCC @cbsla @pecom_news thank you! How can they ask non media to not tweet?Natalia Abrams