Themedia is contributing to mass shootings After the recent shootings in Las Vegas, Orlando, SutherlandSprings Texas, and every mass shooting that has happened in America; the mediais consistently answering the same questions. Who was the shooter? What was themotive behind the shooting? What kind of gun did the shooter use? What policychanges can the country enforce to prevent shootings? But another, more pressing issue that hasbegun to creep up in our country; the media is contributing to these attacksthrough how it covers them. “Massshootings are on the rise and so is media coverage of them,” said Jennifer B. Johnston,PhD, of Western New Mexico University (APA 2017).
Johnston goes on to say “At this point, can wedetermine which came first? Is the relationship merely unidirectional: Moreshootings lead to more coverage? Or is it possible that more coverage leads tomore shootings?” When the media changes its methods and decides to covershootings more responsibly, that doesn’t mean they have to eliminate or notreport important events or items that are of news value. It means the mediastops providing the people who are pulling the trigger with the notoriety theyseek. The public can have an effective news report without releasing detailssuch as names, faces and the type of gun used. It is a mistake for mediaoutlets and journalists to willingly give shooters the fame that they seek, inpart because doing so can inspire similar crimes or copycats; they inspirepeople who are looking for fame and notoriety.
Zeynep Tufekci, a University ofNorth Carolina psychologist, and New York Times columnist has stated that”there is fairly solid evidence that media coverage can lead to copycatattacks.” When a violent act occurs, everyone wants to know who didit and what it was like to be there, that’s the nature of a human being. Thepublic looks for information about the killer and why he or she decided to pullthe trigger. The public wants to know what gun was used, because we as Americanpeople and the law makers in Washington D.
C. try to push our own agenda on guncontrol; whether we are for or against gun control, the type of gun used canmake an argument for either of us. That’s why information about the killer,photos and videos of any attack always dominate the news so much. This is whatpeople want to know.
This is the leverage that helps Washington D.C. persuadethe American people. Acommon argument by the media outlets are that leaving information such asweapons and names out of the news casts will be a case for the ever growing fakenews claims.
If news stations don’t provide useful information about an attack,it will only become easier for opposing people and outlets to carve out an evenbigger place to push an agenda in the conversation of fake news. Unfortunately, we find that a similartrait among many of the people who have committed such inexcusable shootings inAmerica and around the world is their desire for fame. It is in correspondenceto the emergence of widespread and open news coverage on local and cable newsprograms, and the rise in social media coverage. The media has proven in recentweeks with coverage of all the high profile sexual harassment and assault casesthat they can come together to work for good. Through the coverage’s of thesehigh profile people, the media has proven they can come together for a greatcause. They have done it before, and they can do it again.
It’s time to end thedetailed coverage on every shooting that gives fame to the person who deservesit the least, and gives all the information to the person who wants to do itagain.