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An Exercise in Self-Indulgence

Media’s Passion Isn’t Reporting. It’s Making Itself Look Bad

Shelby Murdoc

We’ve all become accustomed to the non-stop news coverage that gun crime generates, particularly if it’s at a school. Endless emotional sensationalism interspersed with tidbits about all the blood on the hands of the National Rifle Association is the norm these days. This deluge by the professionals is quickly followed up by polemics, rants, and memes on social media generated by the members of the gun-grabbing movement. It’s a free country, but the typical response looks more and more orchestrated every time it’s rolled out for public consumption. Until now.

Two attackers opened fire at a STEM school in Highlands Ranch near Denver, Colorado. One student was killed and eight others were wounded. But, despite the understandably high level of sensitivity to school shootings in today’s society, the news media has been relatively quiet about this incident following the initial flurry of early reporting and the legion of anti-gun online voices have been mostly restrained.

There are a number of possible explanations for this comparative silence, but, whatever the reason, we are seeing a media that is exercising self-restraint on a story that they normally would be working overtime to hype into the stratosphere.

This is a noteworthy point, because many have been wondering how much the endless news coverage does to encourage additional violence. This very column, in fact, has suggested that a moratorium on gun violence reporting might do more to curb violent crime than all the gun control liberals can imagine. The response to such suggestions is usually along the lines of “reporting every detail of this horrible incident is the responsibility of journalism” and that restrictions on that reporting are an infringement upon the freedom of the press.

This response is less than convincing, however, because we see self-restraint in the media every day. Most of it, predictably, is due to the inherent liberal bias present in most of the mainstream media.

Good unemployment numbers and stock market records are given only brief coverage while the pain of trade war tariffs gets the spotlight because of who’s in the White House. The cost to taxpayers of illegal aliens in America or the crimes they commit are minimized while the trauma of families separated at the border are front page news because Republicans need to be painted as racists. Scandals involving email servers or illegal domestic spying are virtually ignored because of who could be implicated. All of this shows us that the media can avoid sensationalizing a story if they choose to.

From the typical liberal/leftist perspective, the Highlands Ranch incident is exactly backwards. The shooting occurred in Colorado, a state which has been very successful in strengthening its gun control laws. The weapons used were handguns, not the scary evil AR-style rifles that the left loves to vilify. And Colorado is in the spotlight when it comes to marijuana legalization, with people on both sides of the weed debate watching very closely to see what transpires in the Rocky Mountain state. None of these factors make the shooting a story that fits the media’s standard playbook, and the orchestrated campaigns by anti-gun organizations know that their regular talking points don’t quite fit this time.

Additionally, this incident could have been so much worse if it had not been for the actions of a brave hero, Kendrick Castillo. Castillo rushed the shooter in his British Lit class and paid with his life. But Castillo’s courageous move bought precious moments for others to follow up. Two of them, Joshua Jones and Brendan Bialy, manage to slam the gunman against a wall and disarm him. Bialy is in the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program and will report to the Marines this summer. His motto is “I refuse to be a victim.” These actions and the mindset that made them possible are at odds with the regular fare that praises weakness and victimhood and rejects so-called “toxic masculinity.”

One of the shooters is apparently a 16-year-old transgender, a female transitioning into a male. And this shooter’s father is an illegal alien, reportedly convicted of domestic violence, and has been deported back to Mexico twice. The shooter tweeted about missing the father 11 days before the attack. A transgender minor who is the child of an illegal alien and lives in a broken home definitely does not fit the usual narrative.

So how does the media choose to cover this incident? By largely ignoring it.

Finally, students walked out of a memorial vigil in protest of the way that the event was politicized. The vigil was organized by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and several speakers, including Democratic politicians and a representative of Moms Demand Action, spoke. Students at the school had not been invited to speak. No wonder many students and their families called it a “political stunt.”

But that is not the sort of thing that gets headlines in America. If students speak out in favor of gun control, they’re plastered all over every news outlet and millions of adults tell us that the children shall lead us. If, however, students are not playing along, the story is quite different. If the incident doesn’t fit the expected narrative, it’s crickets on CNN.

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