Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we misreport a story and deceive…It all began early on Thursday morning, March 20, when a local station in Seattle reported that there was going to be a reinvestigation into the death of one, Kurt Cobain, iconic lead singer of the band Nirvana. While this may not have seemed like a big deal to the news reporters or station itself, it certainly became clear within a few hours that it was. These media figures had no idea what kind of power they were welding simply by releasing misinformation over a powerful format like television.
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Things went wild almost immediately. KIRO 7 in Seattle not only informed viewers (and readers online) that there had been new developments in the case, quite literally, through the processing of 4 rolls of 35mm film taken at the scene of Cobain’s suicide, but that this would lead to new work in the case. This was a crucial part of what was causing Kurt Cobain’s suicide to be “reopened” since these documents possessed a great deal more visual clarity than any previous items they had before. KIRO 7 was also very adamant in stating to their audience that if they tuned in later to the 11pm program, they would get more information on the reopened case.
Only, it wasn’t a reopened case at all. All the tweets that they sent out, all these reports that began to flood the internet, a Gawker article, the big time “Kurt Cobain Case being reopened!” headline, this was a complete fallacy. Their research was a case of misinformation and poor reporting. The reality was much simpler than one would think: next month is the 20th anniversary of Cobain’s death and, according to Marc Berman of the Washington Post, a cold case detective was “going through the details of the Cobain files again [and] found some old and undeveloped film, which provided better-quality photos of images already out there.”
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Of course the backtracking has begun, and every site from Gawker to KIRO 7’s own website and twitter have now edited their work to reflect the changes in information and “typos” that the proper research and interviews with Seattle resources have given them, but what this has done has also stirred the Nirvana-loving populace once again, the group of people who have never given up on their hero and never given up on finding out what really happened to him. Will we ever know for sure? Perhaps we won’t. But one thing is certain- misinformation can only be damaging for a figure such as this. Love him, hate him, indifferent, Kurt Cobain was someone who really impacted a generation and deserves to have accurate work dispersed into the media world. Let’s try to work with that, shall we?
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