By SHAWNA KHALAFI
On Thursday night a story came out about the death of Charlotte, the groundhog at Staten Island Zoo. This particular groundhog is the same one that New York City mayor Bill de Blasio dropped in February of this year at a Groundhog Day event.
Even though this accident with the mayor happened seven months ago, many news source were blatantly suggesting that the groundhog’s death was a direct result of her injury following the mayor’s mistake. These stories also seemed to take the incident very seriously, which at times seemed ironic since it involves the death of a rodent, not a human.
Other stories worked to dismiss this claim by quoting a spokesman for the zoo as saying, “It appears unlikely that the animal’s death is related to the events on Groundhog Day.”
Although this story may seem like a very minor incident among major news events, it is a perfect example of the dangers of drawing unwarranted conclusions.
As journalists, it’s important to never assign blame to anyone involved in a story and to not insinuate any causes or connections that we do not know to be true. It is up to the journalist to present all relevant and accurate information to the audience in an unbiased manor.