I remember not so long ago when it was said that we were in the information age because of mass media -- TV and radio and Cable TV and the Internet.

And now suddenly, the horror at the Sandy Hook Elementary School has shown us that we are really in the "misinformation age."

In a rush to get the news on first, and with the growth and ability of citizens to spread news themselves via the Internet on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, too much misinformation is being taken as the gospel truth.

Police right now are investigating bogus reports about the events of the mass killing at Sandy Hook. But even the credentialed news media, in their rush to get the story on, went with partial information, or unofficial information, or wrong information that could very well have caused harm.

Some of the glaring errors reported by the news media include:

--The wrong person was first identified as the killer. The shooter was first identified as the brother of the young man now thought to be the lone gunman.

--In early coverage there were different numbers of fatalities.

--The gunman's mother was reported to be killed in various places including home and the school, she was also identified as working as a teacher in the school and then an aide and then it was said she had no connection to the school at all.

With the ability to broadcast, and broadcast includes tweeting and posting on facebook as well as going on Cable News and TV news and radio, comes the responsibility to be sure the content is correct and accurate.

Rumor and speculation and false reports -- all misinformation in an information age -- can lead to all sorts of disruptions in markets, in communities, and in law and order.

Even the professional news media with professional training and standards make mistakes. Perhaps the rush to be first with news allows editors to skip the age-old steps of the editorial process to confirm before reporting? But with the Internet open to "citizen reporters" there is even less control and seemingly no one to act as editor.

This information free-for-all of both citizen reporters without editors, and a competitive media rushing to be first with the news without confirmation, all contributes to this new age of misinformation and the risks it presents.

The first three rules about journalism used to be accuracy, accuracy, accuracy. Where are they now?