Assessing the media response to the latest mass shootings

Andrew Stiles of the Washington Free Beacon explores media reaction to the latest mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.

Journalists tend to get especially animated when reporting on and pontificating about gun violence tragedies. Most journalists are human beings, so in many ways this is just a normal human response to tragic circumstances. There’s also an undercurrent of professional self-importance. …

… No one likes the media, and that’s fair enough.

In the wake of deadly shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, the journalists are at it again, shaming politicians who offer “thoughts and prayers,” appealing for a federal ban on “automatic weapons” (which already exists), posting absurd firearms graphics, making definitive pronouncements as to whether a crazed gunman’s political views are “relevant,” and discussing whether or not a pair of deadly shootings could offer a flailing presidential candidate “a chance…to gain momentum.” Mostly, however, they’ve been arguing with other journalists about journalism — specifically, about whether or not it’s okay to cancel your subscription to the New York Times after the paper wrote a problematic headline about Trump. You know, the sort of thing most normal, well-adjusted Americans really care about. …

… As all of this was playing out in the minimally relevant confines of Twitter, a federal appeals court ruled that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit against the New York Times could proceed. Palin sued the paper after a 2017 editorial suggested, without evidence, that Palin had motivated the actions of the gunman who killed six people and wounded Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords at a Safeway parking lot in Tucson, Ariz.

Whether or not Palin’s case ultimately succeeds is not especially relevant. The Times editorial, which prompted a correction, is just another example of the media running afoul of its own standards.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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