SCHOOL SHOOTING
6:26 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Beat the Press: Media Coverage of Conn. Shootings

Our guests today weighed in on the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn. 

Emily Rooney, Beat the Press/Greater Boston host: "And you know, we always… it's in all of us, not just journalists. You start comparing it to other tragedies. I remember one that happened in Scotland, in 1996, where a gunman killed 12 kindergartners, and this was similar to that one, and that became a national story in America because he killed kindergartners. And then we start ruling out all these other ones, like Littleton. And I thought, for some reason, even the Gabrielle Giffords one didn't quite rise to this level because — well, it was only 6 people, and it probably wouldn't have gotten any attention were it not the fact that it was a United States Congress person. You know, it's human nature to do that. But there is something — in all of us. We all know when a story rises to that level where it's just... Tremendous. And this is it."

Roy Harris, author and journalist: "The 5- to 10-year-olds is the key for me. The image that really stays with me is of these children talking and being interviewed. And you could have a whole debate about whether they should even be interviewed there. Parents were there, but the children were so focused on what had happened. It was, you'd talked to the parents, and the parents would kind of break into the normal things about how horrible it was, but the kids were focused on the 'pop-pop-pop,' on someone falling, it was heart-rending to hear them—like little reporters."

Dan Kennedy, Northeastern University: "I think people are going to see this  as one of the worst things  to happen in the country since 9/11 frankly. And I think it's because largely, because of the age of the victims and the sheer number of them. It hits home for people in so many ways. My God, I picked my daughter up from college the other day. My wife works in an elementary school. And everybody has stories like that, and so the horror is driven home in ways that we haven't seen even with some of these terrible shootings. So I think this is going to be very much the number one news story for many, many days to come — if not weeks – and I think it should be."

Kara Miller, WGBH: "You know, you talk about a tipping point, and I think I worry a little bit that we are getting inured to this kind of stuff. The worst things get, you mentioned the Virginia Massacre, 32 people, or Columbine, which was 12 students and a teacher. And now you look back and you think, wow, 12 and a teacher doesn't seem like that much  -- and I worry that our bar keeps getting higher and higher… it also stops us from us paying attention to places that have a culture of violence."

Callie Crossley, WGBH: "There would be no responsibility if the local enforcement agencies right at this moment haven't been as firm as they have been with what you can shoot and what you can't shoot and what I'm going to tell you and what I'm not. Even down to the doctors in one of the hospitals who said, 'I'm ' just not going to discuss some of this.' That's what stops people. I'm not saying there's not some other information that should be happening, but you know, if people are going to cross the line, I have to say, I'm not so comfortable with those kids (on there…) even though the parents are there, because that's imprinted on their brains and it's never going to leave."

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