Tuesday, January 11, 2011

For God's Sake, Don't Confuse Us With the Facts

Coverage of the Giffords shooting has frustrated me profoundly. Substance makes up less than half the coverage I've been able to find. Spin has covered far more. Opinion, argument.

It's gossip, masquerading as journalism. It obscures the truth.

I spent an hour yesterday researching news stories, videos, 911 calls, the Arizona Statesman, the local publication that, of all media involved, should have had an in-depth account and timeline of Saturday. I couldn't find it. Maybe it is there--my online research techniques are not stellar. My point is, the information shouldn't have been that hard to find.

I have heard or found two references to a woman "who tried to prevent the shooter from reloading". What did she do? what happened? I assume it was about the same time "two people" one report said, and "two men" in another tackled him and restrained him until law enforcement arrived. Then what happened? I've seen a full feature on Danny Hernandez, who rushed to his boss when she was shot and used his previous experience as a medic to try to stabilize her, in spite of continuing gunfire. No one has identified the three who actually intervened in a slaughter. It's as if they were some random piano who fell on his head.

What happened Saturday morning? We've gotten the sound bites, and then off to the glitz-the nine-year-old girl, which indeed is a heartbreaker--BUT! she is also the granddaughter of someone famous. What happened to the neighbor who took her along? A judge died, but so did three women who were older, apparently ordinary citizens, and beyond their names being listed among the dead, have gotten no attention. The headlines I see. The stories, I can't find.

In hindsight it seems likely that the shooter may have schizoid symptoms. Not uncommon in tragedies like this. Often, the families have been trying to get help for the person for a long time. If they are over 18, this isn't easy. We got the peers saying how weird he was, and all the excited rhetoric that goes with it. There is a lot more to THAT story, too.

But the media is thundering off to the next stories. Is it Sarah Palin's fault? Is it the left? the right? the tea party? Arizona gun laws? Almost before the bleeding bodies are carried from the scene, it's all about the spin, how this helps this point of view or that. There is a great deal of opinion, but very little truth, or facts, in all that.

Chaotic, shocking events like this don't have all the facts immediately, It seems, however, more should be available.

Facts? Who has time for those? After the bare facts, journalists have leaped to the spin pieces. He came, he shot, he was stopped. Now here's what I or X, Y, or Z thinks this means, or shows.

There's a loss of freedom in this. Not just in this one incident, but in the trend it signifies. I can still find a lot of information on the internet and in news coverage, but increasingly it is slanted, leaves out information, or includes opinions as if they were facts. Or, perhaps, maybe I just notice it more.

Of course, one person's facts are another person's opinions.

Even mine.


JPG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JPG said...

Agreed: a well-organized timeline is lacking. We've been getting bits and pieces. Dunno which bits have been verified and which are incorrect.

-- The shooter had an altercation with his father shortly before the incident.
-- Shooter had been stopped by police for a traffic violation near the scene.
-- The woman you mention is probably the one who reached out and grabbed a loaded magazine out of the gunman's hand while he was rdeloading. Unfortunatrely, he had another one handy.
There's one report thay one of the reload magazines malfunctioned, too.
At least the heroic woman slowed him down and gave others time to dogpile him before he did A LOT more damage.
[There were distracting typos in first attempt.]

charlotte g said...

Thanks. today, I saw a CNN report with a col. wh was hit. He said the woman knocked the clip out of Lougher's hand. He went forward as someone else took a folding chair and hit the shooter. The two of them held him for 5-10 minutes until law enforcement got there. So I have one name, though I didn't write it down. The Col. said he owned no gun and noted that the clips were "only legally allowed to law enforcement" which is why I saw him on CNN. Still, It's more info than I had before.