Gun Control Disappearing from the News Media

by John Sides on July 14, 2013 · 2 comments

in Media,Violence

gun control stories week

Once the Senate gun control bill died in April, so did the story.

That is Danny Hayes, over at Wonkblog.

{ 2 comments }

RobC July 14, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Professor Hayes writes, “The inherent newsworthiness of an event – such as the nearly unfathomable slaughter of 20 first-graders – is not enough to sustain the media’s interest.” Perhaps we should be defining”newsworthiness” here. If it means something of importance, then yes, mere importance of an issue isn’t enough to sustain the media’s interest. My goodness, Stalin killed thirty million, but whole weeks go by without the news media writing a story about it. But if “newsworthiness” includes within its definition the concept of something that is new and different–something more akin to what most of us regard as “news”–then the lack of a new element in a continuing controversy is going to lead to less coverage.

Give the media their due: they’ve been flogging the gun control story (oops, gun violence, sorry) as much as they can, but when the element of news is missing, it’s to be expected that media coverage will diminish. Otherwise we’d be reading every day about the victims of gun violence in Stalin’s Soviet Union.

Todd Phillips July 16, 2013 at 12:46 am

It’s easy to say what the “news media” should be doing for the sake of democracy. But look at it from the perspective of any individual news organization. It exists to make money for the owners. If the choice is between new and exciting or old and worn out, however important an issue may be it would make no sense to chose old and worn out. Expecting privately owned businesses to act as a branch of government and do what is best for our “democracy” is unrealistic.

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