It happens all too often: A shooting occurs and the news networks trip over themselves to cover the story. In an industry that increasingly depends on “exclusives” in order to differentiate the major players, these networks inevitably race to uncover the details of the shooters themselves. As a result, they perpetuate a deadly hypocrisy that ensures these acts of violence will continue.
On Aug. 26, 2015, I had the TV on as I created lesson plans. That morning’s shows vacillated between coverage of The Donald’s latest stump speech (Look! This time Trump’s making fun of Asians!) and the terrorist overtaken by passengers on a French train. Both stories had managed to satisfy the ratings gods all week, so the story of an early morning shooting involving reporters in Roanoke, Va., barely caused a ripple.