Enough With the Roanoke Shooting Coverage, Already

Let me just say first of all that anyone who thinks I am being callous with the above headline hasn’t spent most of their day the last 72 hours watching cable news, like I have. Obviously, the deaths of Alison Parker and Adam Ward were a tragedy and I don’t want to minimize the loss and suffering of their family and friends. But the media’s treatment of this story has long since passed honest respect for the untimely passing of two young people and wandered into obvious sermonizing on the evils of guns. What’s happening now isn’t news coverage; it’s ghoulish capitalizing on a tragedy for ratings and politics.

I will tell you that over the last three days, I have seen (and I am not exaggerating), a 10 minute interview with Alison Parker’s competitive tango dancing partner, an even longer segment on the WDBJ Christmas party, three or four interviews with people who purported to be the best friend of Adam Ward, and more segments featuring Alison Parker’s dad (who I’m fairly certain was a trained gun control advocate before this tragic story ever happened) than there are Law and Order reruns on any given weekend.

There are, on average, about 15,000 murders that occur in this country every year. There is no objective basis on which these two merit as much insane media coverage as they have gotten. I’m sure the two victims were perfectly nice people who were loved and respected by all they came across, but they weren’t more deserving of countless hours of eulogizing than the 120 or so people who have been unjustifiably killed in America since the deaths of Alison Parker and Adam Ward, and whose deaths haven’t even merited mention by their local TV news, much less round the clock coverage on the national news.

They weren’t on the verge of curing cancer, or setting any world records, or major celebrities. Sure, they were killed on Live TV, but that happened on a local channel with a small viewership, and the footage has been (justifiably) kept from the public eye. Sure, they were members of the media, but they weren’t colleagues of any of the national cable news channels who are currently obsessing over them. America has thousands of these small network affiliates and each one has a relatively sizeable contingent of on air reporters and cameramen. There’s no more reason for Wolf Blitzer to feel a personal connection to these two particular individuals than there would be for me to feel connection to a random lawyer that I didn’t know in Dubuque who got murdered.

The reason for the obsession with these two particular crimes is obvious, and has nothing to do with the crimes themselves – it has to do with what the crimes are useful for. The victims are telegenic people and their families and friends all appear to be media savvy. They were killed by a gun and therefore this story provides a perfect vehicle for the activists in the media to push their narrative on gun control. Don’t believe me? Watch this colloquy between Carol Costello and Chris Cuomo of CNN from a couple days ago:


Still don’t believe me? Consider that Adam Ward’s father has been given almost pro forma coverage throughout this entire ordeal, and that his remembrances of his son have been completely ignored. Meanwhile virtually the entire country can now identify Alison Parker’s dad. Both have similar stories to tell. Why is one on camera perpetually while the other might as well not exist in this story? Because Alison Parker’s dad dutifully stumps for gun control every time the lens is on him and Adam Ward’s dad stated the obvious in his one interview on the subject: stricter gun control laws wouldn’t have kept guns out of the hands of his son’s killer, since the Vester Lee Flanagan successfully passed a mandatory background check before purchasing his gun in the first place.

The media does not give a crap about Alison Parker and Adam Ward, nor the grief of their families. They are using both them and everyone around them because of the spectacle value and because it helps promote a political agenda they believe in. This transparent emotional manipulation at the expense of the legitimate grief of a family that has suffered loss is absolutely sickening to me.

Enough with the absurd coverage, media. Stop pretending you care for these people as people. You don’t. You only care for the story and agenda you can use them to push.

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