I suppose the question of how the media have covered the Newtown massacre ranks down the list of pressing issues raised by the tragedy, at least for the moment, but as the memorials and funerals pass, deeper discussion should ensue.
What has gotten the lion’s share of complaints: the insensitive interviews with school kids asked to re-live the horror, plus the usual over-the-top “grief porn.” Hopefully we will soon see more of a focus on how the media have miscovered, or not covered, the issues of gun violence and gun rights, and mental health treatment, in past years.
And we’ll watch for pundits and analysts pushing Obama to talk tougher, and then go beyond talking the talk to walking the walk. Here’s a new Roger Cohen column at The New York Times that pushes hard. Even Joe Scarborough claims he has changed his views.
For now, before this aspect fades, my list of twelve key facts or reports that many or most in the media got wrong in the first twenty-four hours or more of coverage of the tragedy:
1) Gunman’s rifle was not left in car but found in school.
2) Rifle did virtually all or all of the killing damage in the school, not handguns.
3) Shooter forced way into school, was not “buzzed” in by anyone.
4) Four weapons found in school, not two.
5) Mother did not teach at school at all, was not “teacher’s aide” or “substitute.”
6) Reported “altercation” between Adam Lanza and staffers at school disputed by police.
7) Brother’s ID was not found on Adam Lanza.
8) Nearly all or all kids killed were first-graders, not in kindergarten.
9) Got name of shooter wrong
10) Some claimed brother was killed in Hoboken
11) Some claimed father was killed in Hoboken
12) Mother not killed in kindergarten classroom but at home