My father (also a writer), wrote a piece regarding the Newtown shootings recently. It added an interesting spin on the argument I made earlier. He makes some good points so I wanted to share it with you. Enjoy.
‘I felt compelled to write something about the murders in Newtown. Currently working in the US I have been over-exposed to the saturation of media trawlings over the ‘whys’ and ‘how did we let this happen?’ – when the reality is that the media itself has big problems. Right from when the horror first occurred (and we are talking minutes) the media descended on Newtown like a hungry animal.
There was a plea from the local police to the waiting TV crews and journalists to respect the families of the victims and the reality was that they just took two steps back. As each hour passed it appeared to become more acceptable for families to be approached and for interviews to take place. The scrabble for ‘exclusive’ coverage had begun.
Psychologists were brought in to TV news rooms to offer opinions, the type of weapon used has been discussed (should a young person have access to a semi-automatic gun?) and all the time a small square photograph of the murderer sat bottom right of the screen – in case we had forgotten what he looked like. And the media all the while acted like a recovering victim – the reportage 48 hours on looking back at events like a dog licking its wounds.
The most poignant period of media reporting was probably unintentional.
It was the 45 minute TV coverage at Newtown school whilst waiting for Barack Obama to arrive. Fixed cameras showed the congregation passing boxes of tissues to one another, soft toys being given out to the attending children.
Arriving local police were given standing ovations and were clearly still in emotional shock.
There was an air of utter disbelief. And this was the grainy truth. Real not sensationalist.’