Manipulative tactics -- such as carefully editing both the call and response of a protestor and the crowd -- cannot simply be attributed to 'bad judgment' or even 'bad journalism.' They are, at their most basic, deliberate efforts to knowingly foist a defective product on the public, without regard to the harm it does.
What if Dr. Townes, instead of taking that timeout, had sent a text or played Angry Birds? Might we be in the dark about the laser? As research and Townes' example suggest, the unpredictable sparks of our own mental machinations should be something we don't want to miss any more than the majestic sight of a passing whale.