What does one do with more TASER Kills, TASER Death Headline Fails? Perhaps these errors could serve as a classic case study in bias & speculation. It might provide insight on how perceptions become reality.
To begin, the tragic death of a Brazilian named Roberto Laudisio Curti in Australia story continues its challenge with incorrect headlines. For example, read the original headline: “21-Year-Old Brazilian Tasered To Death By Australian Police.” That’s incorrect, yes? Nope. The autopsy results & cause of death have not been concluded. Headlines are meant to entice readers, so clearly this article won’t make the same mistake? Nope. The article states in an opening lead, “That’s right: Laudisio Curti was tasered to death.” The story made no bones about it and firmly convinced readers that a cause of death is known. Yet, this is not true & thus the news organization had to make correct these libelous statements on April 12.
The damage was done and if you had read the original article, you might have concluded that the TASER ECD was the cause of death. You would most likely then form an opinion about this issue. Your perceptions – not based on fact or science – then become your reality.
Now imagine an opinion poll at the end of that original story that asks, “Should the New South Wales Police be held accountable for this death?” When you read the uncorrected version, do you think that those incorrect words had any influence on the poll? It did.
Even in today’s Daily Telegraph, the media incorrectly states, “Officers positioned a mannequin of Mr Curti’s body… where the fatal stun gun shot was fired.” The fatal stun gun shot? So much for the cause of death not determined yet. That came, “Police in Taser death re-enactment after Brazilian man Roberto Laudisio Curti died in Sydney’s CBD.” Note the “TASER death” use in the headline & other hyperlinked stories on that samepage. Interestingly, there’s also no mention of the pepper spray use.
Pepper Spray? Do a Google search with these key words & you get a lot of results in 26 days since Mr. Curti’s March 18 death:
• Curti + TASER + Killed: 416,000 results
In 386 days since the death of Dominic Chiodo on March 18, 2012, there have been very few stories relative to Mr. Curti. Last week, this story, Coroners Court probes death of a man after he was sprayed with capsicum by police, provoked some research on comparing TASER vs pepper spray bias. Note the results:
• Dominic Chiodo + Capsicum + Killed: 515 results (using “pepper spray” vs. “capsicum” nets even less results: 246 results)
Why compare this to Dominic Chiodo?
There are many similarities but what’s interesting is the bias when a death occurs involving a TASER ECD. There is very little outcry when someone dies in custody when other products are used. In fact, how many of you knew that police said they used pepper spray to try to subdue Mr. Curti? Why aren’t the headlines “Pepper Spray Killed?”
The interesting aspect to this comparison of these two similar situations is in the numbers:
“Curti” + “pepper spray” + “killed” gets 3,360 results vs 416,000 replacing “pepper spray” with “TASER.”
So how did a story involving both pepper spray & TASER ECDs fail to mention the pepper spray in 99.9 percent of the stories? How does the media continue to state TASER Kills when causes of death aren’t known?
This is certainly a case that makes you go, “Hmmmm.”
Repeat offender. “TASER death autopsy under review” – headline fail. LakeNewsOnline.com is a repeat offender for headline fails. We’ve contacted the editors for this site several times regarding multiple “TASER death” headline failures.
The story reports that the autopsy results have not been released to the public. If this is the case, the cause of death is not public knowledge. It’s premature for this publication to describe this grim outcome as a “TASER death.”
Once again the media implies that the TASER ECD was found to be causal before they have all the facts. This seriously affects the perception of TASER, its products, & its use by law enforcement – doesn’t it?
What are your thoughts?
Out of control Headline Failures – “Student Roberto Curti named as South American TASERed to death. “ An incident involving law enforcment, a TASER electronic control device (ECD) deployment, & the death of a Brazilian student in Australia occurred. While no one will argue the outcome of this event was tragic, we take issue with the media’s almost immediate conclusion that the TASER ECD deployment killed this young man. If you search for TASER death + Curti Google provides more than 30,000 results. The headlines run the gamut from “TASER Death, Killed by TASER, TASERed to death, & Fatal TASER Attack.” At this point, the investigation is in it’s infancy – autopsy results have not been released & toxicology tests are pending. It’s premature & only speculation as to what caused this man’s death yet the media’s headlines imply or even outright say that the TASER ECD caused the fatal result. It should be noted that capsicum spray was also used yet we’ve haven’t seen a “Capsicum Spray Death” headline.
We can only hope that people read beyond the headline & realize the media is merely speculating the causal relationship & that the cause of death has not been determined.
UPDATE: Check Google with the following search: TASER Killed Curti and as of March 23, there are 5,980,000 results. It will be six million despite this statement:
Ever wonder how many lives are saved from potential death or serious injury by TASER products? The current number is at 77,822 but this changes hourly. Visit our “Saves Counter” on our homepage for updates.
A story reported this morning accentuates the mission of TASER Safety & saving lives: “Use of TASER Avoids Potential Deadly Force Situation.” Police responded to a disturbance involving a man with a knife. They approached the suspect in a dark alley. He failed to comply with their verbal commands to show his hands. As one officer pointed his firearm for cover, another officer successfully deployed his TASER ECD & the suspect was taken into custody without injury to the suspect or the officers. Dixon Police Chief Langloss stated, “This incident exemplifies how valuable the TASER is for the safety of our officers and the suspect. This situation very easily could have turned into a deadly force situation. That is the last thing we want. Thankfully, the officers had a TASER and were able to use a non-deadly force option.”
This is what makes the people of TASER International proud to help law enforcment do their all too often dangerous job of keeping communities safe.
Here we go again, “Ohio teen killed by stun gun was TASERed before.” Before the facts are known, the media is already implying that the use of the TASER ECD killed this young man. While we agree this is a terrible outcome to a police encounter, we hoped that CBS would be more accurate & less misleading with their headlines. According to the US Department of Justice hundreds of people die during or following arrests each year. From the limited amount of facts about this incident that have been released to the media, it’s only speculation as to what really happened & the cause of death. The investigation is on-going & as yet not all the facts have even been collected for examination.
I don’t recall ever seeing a headline reading, “Man Killed by Officer’s Bullet.” Anyone else?