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◆ The machine-gun massacre in Las Vegas dominates our thoughts–and news coverage
It is remarkable how a few sad points encapsulate so many hours of heartbreaking TV coverage
- 58 dead, so far
- Over 500 injured, many seriously, so death toll may rise
- Single gunman, perched on 32nd floor of hotel, had 10 guns in room
- Shot into outdoor country-music festival
- No link to international terror groups
- Some groups did make false claims that they were responsible
- Gunman was retired Nevada resident, no criminal history, lived in retirement community
- Episode lasted 72 minutes
- Gunman killed himself
- Pres. Trump will travel to Las Vegas later in the week
The media coverage is intense, naturally.
The best coverage of the event itself is always a good local paper, in this case the Las Vegas Sun.
Comment: The coverage will soon move in its predictable arc:
- Who was the gunman?
- What about the families of the fallen?
- And, of course, “Gun Control” versus “Second Amendment.”
This is the type of story we’ll see about the gunman: “Led a quiet life,” neighbors never suspected, etc. (Washington Post)
The main goal is to explore what motivations–psychological or political–drove him to do this.
Politically, the episode will also follow a predictable arc. In this case, the gun control advocates raised the issue immediately, led by Pelosi and Hillary. Of course, these cleavages are heavily correlated with party affiliation, now that there are so few Democrats from the south and rural districts.
The early political calls after this massacre are worth noting because, in the past, the gun-control side often waited a day or two. Why the difference now? Probably because so many massacres have dulled the political motive to “wait a decent interval to mourn” and weakened the counter-argument that “now, when people are grieving, is not the right time to raise this issue.” (The same logic applies to terrorist events. As soon as we know whether it was actually a terrorist attack, people begin making political points. In the past, they often waited a few days.)
In this case, gun-control advocates want to raise the issue immediately because they know it is very hard for their opponents to make persuasive arguments. Usually, the most effective NRA-type argument is that “even if we did everything you gun-control advocates want, it wouldn’t have stopped this shooting.”
◆ All other news pales as the terrible aftermath unfolds
◆ Here’s a small tidbit to watch for: It’s a good time to dump bad news for government agencies or corporations
They know people are preoccupied so fewer will notice. So, “Ooops, we polluted your river” is better disclosed now than next Monday.
It’s the “Friday afternoon news dump” on steroids.
So, keep an eye out.