As General Rick Hillier so eloquently puts it in his excellent biography “A Soldier First,” “First reports are always wrong. Second reports are also wrong, and third reports are usually wrong.” As it happens, General Hillier was writing about his reaction to the first reports of the friendly fire incident in which Canada lost her first soldiers in Afghanistan in 2002 to a U.S. air strike.

Despite the ever-increasing flood of information from around the globe, this is still every bit as true today. If anything, it has become worse as reporters and editors seek to feed the beast that is the 24-hour news cycle. With the recent release and briefing of the report on the friendly fire incident that resulted in Canada’s first casualties in the latest Iraq war, we once again see how accurate General Hillier’s wisdom is.

Drew Doiron wasn’t the friendliest guy at first encounter if he didn’t know you, and he may have had a chip or two on his shoulder, but he was a professional, he loved what he did, and in the end, he did everything right. But you wouldn’t know that from the first reports rushed into print. I understand why the Peshmerga said what they did, being defensive about what happened and no doubt hounded for comment from reporters desperate for a quote.

The spin put on it from reporters is something that really makes my blood boil. I get it; there are headlines to make, papers to print, and ratings to make. Drama and SOF are sexy, and that sells. But first reports are always wrong, and there is a price to be paid and real-world consequences to getting it wrong.