“Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it,” wrote Jonathan Swift, “so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect.”
Surely Ryan Lanza, the brother of Adam Lanza, who committed a massacre on Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn., would agree with Swift. Ryan was miles away, minding his own business, when the media, including The Post, named him as the author of the bloodbath — and for the next few hours he was no longer an anonymous office toiler but a notorious mass murderer.
Yes, the truth finally limped along later. Still, the false accusation compounded Ryan’s agony at learning that his younger brother used his mother’s gun to kill her, 20 children, six additional adults and, finally, himself.
Many say we need a post-Newtown “national conversation” about gun violence. We do.
While we’re at it, let’s soul-search about the fact that the instantaneous spread of misinformation after mass killings is becoming almost as frequent as the massacres. And some of our leading media institutions are culpable.