This week’s podcast: Sandy Hook & the media

This week on our weekly radio chat, CHML’s Scott Thompson asks if I think the media overreacted to the tragic, senseless shootings in Sandy Hook, Ct. I say no and here’s why: there was no bigger story in the last week and with the murder of so many children, viewers were anxious get get as much information as possible. Some of the early reporting was misinformation, but that can be expected in such a chaotic situation.
This age of 24-hour news networks is going to see news trucks and reporters swarm the scene of such a shooting. Sure, asking young children for reactions is offside. But even way back in the old three network days there would have been swarms of reporters and intense coverage. As I said to Scott, you never heard anybody accuse networks of overkill during the long days following the Kennedy assassination.
Plus look at how this story instantly took over the Internet. People were consumed, locked in and involved, some to a frightening, even disturbing extent. As Scott points out, there were many football fans outraged with president Obama for interrupting NFL games last Sunday when networks carried his address to a memorial services for the murdered school children. Twitter, as we’ve come to learn, can be a bottomless source of ignorance as well as enlightenment. At times it is the modern equivalent of writing on a public bathroom wall.
If you didn’t want to be overwhelmed by this story–like those of us who find details about these senseless gun deaths too painful or tragic–you did not have to engage. I have to admit I barely looked at CNN, CBC NN or other 24-hour TV news sources last week. For me, it’s just all too sad, and I know the coverage will eventually find me without me looking for it.
We also talk about how Saturday Night Live, Letterman and others reacted to this story; you can listen in here.
Meanwhile, for a ’70s perspective on gun control, here’s how All in the Family‘s Archie Bunker saw it (below). If only Archie had had a twitter account:

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