San Bernardino Scandal: MSNBC Blasted for ‘Irresponsible, Disgusting’ Coverage of Killers’ Home

Innocent people exposed on air will “have to go into hiding” because network failed to blur them, former NYPD investigator Tom Ruskin tells TheWrap

Last Updated: December 4, 2015 @ 1:08 PM

MSNBC came under fire on Friday during its search of the San Bernardino shooters’ home for revealing unedited photos of individuals who may not have been the killers, including social security cards and driver licenses.

“I’m going to guess these are the photographs of Malik,” reporter Kerry Sanders said as the network showed four images of a woman, guessing it was one of the two killers, Tashfeen Malik.

“But we don’t know if it’s her,” Sanders continued.

“Let’s not show the child, Kerry, let’s cut away from that,” anchor Andrea Mitchell interjected as Sanders showed an image of a young boy.

Sanders then flipped through a photo book, showing clear, un-blurred images of potential family and friends. He also showed children’s toys and images of driver licenses and social security IDs of people who might not have had anything to do with the shootings.

“To put those pictures out and not blur them is irresponsible and disgusting,” former New York Police Department officer Tom Ruskin, who worked in crisis Management for the Mayor and Police Commissioner, told TheWrap.

By exposing a series of unblurred photographs, MSNBC may force those depicted into hiding, Ruskin said.

“They have potentially caused innocent people, people that may not be tied to this crime, the possibility of being harmed, and they have to go into hiding,” Ruskin added.

CNN also toured the home, but didn’t broadcast images of photos or IDs.

“CNN, like many other news organizations, was granted access to the home by the landlord,” a network spokesperson told TheWrap.

“We made a conscious editorial decision not to show close-up footage of any material that could be considered sensitive or identifiable, such as photos or ID cards.”

MSNBC is being ravaged on social media for its coverage.

“msnbc basically filmed an advertisement for an estate sale at the shooters’ home,” one Twitter user tweeted.

Many other journalists and users have blasted the network for potentially endangering the lives of family and friends of the shooters’ who might not have been involved with the massacre.

In a statement to TheWrap, representatives from MSNBC said: “MSNBC and other news organizations were invited into the home by the landlord after law enforcement officials had finished examining the site and returned control to the landlord. Although MSNBC was not the first crew to enter the home, we did have the first live shots from inside. We regret that we briefly showed images of photographs and identification cards that should not have been aired without review.”