Disappointing media coverage of UCC tragedy

Dan Lucas_July 2012_BW

by Dan Lucas

On the morning of October 1st, tragedy hit the Umpqua Community College (UCC) in Douglas County, Oregon. A 26-year old student came to school that day and killed a teacher and eight fellow students, wounded several more and then killed himself after exchanging gunfire with police.

Less than five hours later President Obama went on national television and called for more gun control. The vast majority of the media did not criticize the president for openly politicizing the tragedy so soon. Instead, they focused on his “frustration” and on his “emotional” reaction.

Almost no one in the media called out the president for his selective concern. On the same day he addressed the nation on the UCC tragedy, Obama could have said “For the second straight weekend, more than 50 people were shot in Chicago. In just the past two weekends, 13 have been killed and 98 have been wounded. More than 2,300 have been shooting victims in Chicago since the start of the year.” But he didn’t. When addressing the nation he made no mention of the city where he and Michelle had been raising their daughters before he was elected president – no mention of the city where his former chief of staff is now mayor. A city with some of the tightest gun control laws in the country.

Then on the day before the president visited Roseburg the Washington Post ran an article with the headline “Obama weighs expanding background checks through executive authority.”

As I’ve written about previously, the Washington Post article is full of ignorant and misleading reporting. Most notably, the reporter neglects to mention that Oregon already has background checks on all gun purchases when writing about Obama being spurred by the Oregon shooting to take new executive action on background checks. Background checks that didn’t stop the killer at UCC. The ATF has reported those guns were purchased legally from federal firearms dealers, which always requires a background check.

Given that, how can the president justify using Oregon as a basis for his case? That’s some pretty critical and relevant information omitted by the reporter.

The reporter goes on to make the same mistake when reporting on former congresswoman and shooting victim Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and her husband, Mark Kelly. They had recently been promoting expanded background checks at the White House. The reporter neglects to mention that Giffords’ attacker passed a background check.

Here in Oregon, The Oregonian ran an article titled “Where do Americans die by gunfire” with an interactive map using data from the CDC. It is an example of very deceitful reporting. To have any validity, the map would have needed to exclude suicides – the majority of the gun deaths in the mapped data.

As the Washington Post recently noted “studies have shown little connection between suicides and access to guns. A 2004 report published by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that ‘some gun control policies may reduce the number of gun suicides, but they have not yet been shown to reduce the overall risk of suicide in any population.’ Japan, for instance, has among the world’s most-restrictive gun-control regimes — and yet also has among the world’s highest suicide rates, almost double the U.S. suicide rate.”

Including suicides in gun death numbers is very deceptive and harmful to the public discourse.

Although overall the media coverage of the UCC tragedy was disappointing, there was some noted improvement in the willingness to cover the mental health aspects of these types of tragedies. That includes a fairly balanced column in the Salem Statesman Journal.

As a nation, if we’re going to make progress toward ending tragedies like UCC then it’s going to take a vibrant and unbiased fourth estate who do actual reporting instead of hawking an agenda.

To read more from Dan, visit www.dan-lucas.com

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in 2nd Amendment, Gun Control, Media, President Obama | 39 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Omen

    No skit Sherlock! What’s left of US is a ‘filth’ column bent on disarming our sovereign nation being sliced and diced, into a bunch of encampment corrals in maintaining the staving off of a godless Bolshevik revolution bent on cutting off our arms, piece by piece de resistance.

  • DavidAppell

    Dan wrote:
    “The vast majority of the media did not criticize the president for openly politicizing the tragedy so soon.”

    Dan: How much time is required before the President can speak out about even more gun violence? 24 hours? 3 days? A week? A month? A year?

    I’m glad Obama spoke out, and I’m glad he expressed his anger. Ideologues like you would clearly prefer he be quiet so you don’t have to face the issue.

    • Dick Winningstad

      Hmmm…. Perhaps Pres. Obama should have gone to Chicago instead (54 murders in Sept). Maybe black lives don’t matter to him?

      • DavidAppell

        Nationwide mass shootings in schools and movie theatres are a far different problem than street violence in an economically devastated area the country long ago decided it couldn’t and wouldn’t care less about.

        • A Droit Bean

          Beano, Bango, Guano…outa das David Appell’s smell cell.
          Remember, this left wing antic has been scent shipping (or schlepping) his wet spot out where his ticket to pawns in his circumstance, to wit a left coast where michael moore-osn PERSist in surviving.

        • Dick Winningstad

          Hmmm…. Not according to the gun grabbers here. A general national law to limit ownership is the goal it seems. The UCC tragedy is more commercially visible but is still a rarity compared to Chicago. So the only conclusion is black lives don’t matter to liberals.

          • DavidAppell

            If you can’t recognize the fundamentally different nature of mass shootings versus street violence, you simply aren’t thinking seriously about either.

          • Chicago Poker

            SOS: Sweet Cakes by David Appell.
            sWill Brad Avakian fine him…or find him adorable…ass in as a blue spot on a blue sea of DNC haute culture?

          • Dick Winningstad

            Dead is dead. And Chicago is killing many more on the street than the occasional middle class school. But then the actual enforcement of laws already on the books would work better as New York showed awhile ago and has reinforced now that the current mayor has stopped enforcement. Laws such as putting felons in jail if they are found to posess a gun. Additional jail time for crimes committed with a gun. The basics.
            So, again, do black lives matter to liberals?

          • DavidAppell

            “Dead is dead” doesn’t at all mean the deaths are happening for the same sociological reasons.

          • Dick Winningstad

            So what? Like any problem, one should go after the big problem first. I find it interesting you are willing to ignore the bigger problem here. So, again, do black lives matter to liberals?

          • DavidAppell

            I’m not willing to ignore any problems. The country long ago gave up on inner cities like in Chicago and Detroit. You think you’re going to convince me NOW that you really care?

            The gun problems — mass shootings vs inner city shootings — are very different sociological problems, not at all happening for the same reasons.

          • Dick Winningstad

            Nice try at deflecting the question. New York was doing pretty good at arresting gang bangers on weapons charges until the current mayor came in. And like you, he does not seem to care about black lives as the murder rate has gone up. The Chicago administration has continued to ignore gun laws already on the books and is enduring a high murder rate as a result. And yet you want to disarm suburbanites. Why when disarming criminals with current laws will do a better job of lowering the murder rate?

            So, again, do black lives matter to liberals?

          • DavidAppell

            Why do conservatives need to lie regularly?

            It’s like you realize that’s the only way you have a chance in the debate.

            Don’t even try to act like conservatives care about inner cities — your callousness has been epic.

          • Dick Winningstad

            Lost the argument I see now that you are attaching motives to me.

            Just to be clear, I am relatively safe from gang violence that is true. Yet as a person interested in reducing crime, I am interested in looking at the biggest problems first. Enforcing existing gun laws, no matter where, is a better deterrent than disarming citizens which is the liberal prescription.

            So, again, do black lives matter to liberals?

          • DavidAppell

            Do any lives matter to conservatives, black, white, or of any other race?

          • Dick Winningstad

            Dodging the question.

          • DavidAppell

            Your question is odious and doesn’t deserve the dignity of a reply.

          • Dick Winningstad

            Odious? How so? Just looking at the facts. liberals are not running around being concerned about murders in Chicago, the majority of whom are black. Yet they are running around concerned about white kids killed at a rural college.

          • DavidAppell

            Odious in the same category as “when did you stop beating your wife?”

            I understand how it’s convenience for you to lump all “liberals” into one group and try to claim they “are not running around being concerned about murders in Chicago.”

            But it doesn’t wash. And it’s the slimy kind of accusation I see from many on the right anymore, such as the claim that Black Lives Matter is akin to the KKK (Hanitty).

          • Dick Winningstad

            Hmmmm…… Still dodging. No relation to the When did you…. question. It is a matter of what is being noticed by liberals and their buddies in the media. Nine white kids killed this month compared to oh, say a couple hundred black kids killed in Chicago, New York, L.A., and Washington D.C.? The logic of your assertion, when did you…, is wrong.
            And yes I am painting with a broad brush. As 90% of freedom grabbing liberals give the 10% of good classical liberals a bad rap.

          • DavidAppell

            I’m not dodging. I’m saying your question is odious and does not deserve a reply.

            How do you know what is noticed by “liberals?”

          • Dick Winningstad

            Of course you are dodging. Do black lives matter to liberals? I think not given the coverage in the media and the actions by the Dem Party in Congress.

          • DavidAppell

            The Democratic Party is far more integrated than the Republican party.

          • Dick Winningstad

            Dodging still. I have asserted that liberals do not care about black lives and have pointed out they only get excited about murders when whites are the victims. When was the last time that Pres. Obama, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton etc. have gone to Chicago or Detroit and mourned the murders of blacks? Yet they all have shown up at various locations where white people were murdered.
            Or could liberals not care about any murders and are only interested in furthering their agenda to disarm the people?
            Just wondering.

          • DavidAppell

            Dick: What efforts do you make to know what “liberals” are supposedly all thinking?

            Do you read Mother Jones? The Nation? The Daily Kos?

            Which?

          • Dick Winningstad

            Yes I look at them in order to try to understand their positions. One must understand the other side to criticize better. Now, what conservative sources do you read?

          • DavidAppell

            DrudgeReport. Daily Caller. The Hill. Redstate sometimes, but I can’t stomach it for long. There isn’t one liberal blog I read, but I do also read the Huffington Post.

          • DavidAppell

            “And yes I am painting with a broad brush.”

            You finally admit it…..

          • Dick Winningstad

            Read the rest of the reply and then look at your own posts about broad brushing.

            “Do any lives matter to conservatives, black, white, or of any other race?”

            “And it’s the slimy kind of accusation I see from many on the right anymore…”

            “Do *ANY* lives, black or white, matter to conservatives? They long ago ceased caring about inner cities like Chicago and Detroit…”

          • DavidAppell

            Can’t you read? Your questions are odious and do not deserve a reply. My questions were a reply to point that out.

          • Dick Winningstad

            Not odious. And you are dodging still.

          • DavidAppell

            The big problem, for the vast majority of America, is mass shootings in schools, churches, and malls. And in marriages.

            You aren’t in danger from inner city violence. Why try to pretend you are? Do you think pretending it makes it seem like you care?

          • Dick Winningstad

            Not for the dead people. So, again, do black lives matter to liberals?

          • DavidAppell

            As social phenomena mass shootings and inner city shootings are very different, with different reasons and complexities.

            Do *ANY* lives, black or white, matter to conservatives? They long ago ceased caring about inner cities like Chicago and Detroit, and couldn’t rouse any enthusiam for New Orleans when it was half destroyed. Nor do they care about mass shootings. Do they care about anything but grabbing more money?

          • Dick Winningstad

            Dodging the question.

          • Dick Winningstad

            Hmmmm……. Still dodging I see.
            And as for New Orleans, FEMA did offer to pre-position emergency equipment and supplies before New Orleans was devastated and it was refused by the Dem. New Orleans mayor. Even here Dems don’t care about black lives except as how they can be used to beat conservatives as you have just done.

          • Yoda Mann

            Still, hope remains airing from what’s right (butt not the knee jerk ilk of Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright or Jesse Jackson), albeit to wit: Ben Carson, Lloyd Marcus, Clarence Thomas, J.C.Watts, Thomas Sowell, Janice Rogers Brown, Condoleeza Rice, Michael Steele, Alan Keyes, Allen West., Anne Wortham, Wintley Phipps, Star Parker, Jeff Blackwell, Bishop Jackson, Juan Williams and lesser stellar like Michael Massie fallowed by Herman Cain and Bill Cosby, who, like Jessie Jackson airing with B.O. having a presence of being not as pure as the drivel snow blows and goes.

          • DavidAppell

            I’m not dodging — I’m telling you your question does not deserve a reply. Big difference.

            “Even here Dems don’t care about black lives except as how they can be used to beat conservatives as you have just done.”

            Racist much? Race is only a big factor to conservatives — it seems to scare them.

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