Accuracy in Media

As night follows day, calls for gun control have followed another mass shooting.

News accounts following the shooting at a high school in Florida on Wednesday pushed in dozens of mentions of gun control.

The Washington Post mentioned gun control in the lead of its story.

“President Trump on Thursday called the suspect in the mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla., ‘mentally disturbed” and vowed to help local jurisdictions tackle mental health issues, but he made no mention of stricter gun control laws,” the story began.

For three paragraphs, the Post explained how the president did respond – with a call for action to offer more support to young people who feel isolated.

“I want you to know you are never alone and never will be,” Trump is quoted as saying. “Answer hate with love. Answer cruelty with kindness.”

Trump, the Post reported, “pledged his administration would help ‘tackle the difficult issue of mental health’ and said the issue of improving safety in schools would be the top priority during a meeting later this month with governors and state attorneys general.”

Then, lest it had slipped anyone’s mind: “Yet Trump made no mention of gun control laws in the aftermath of the third deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.”

Then, three paragraphs farther down: “Trump’s suggestion that Cruz, who authorities said used an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, was mentally ill comes amid continued public debate over gun control laws and the mental health care system,” the Post reported. “Congress has not passed major new laws on guns despite an increase in the numbers of people killed in some of the biggest mass shootings.

“The Trump White House has not pushed for any new gun laws. A year ago, Trump signed legislation that lifted Obama-era regulations that aimed to make it more difficult for some people with mental illness … to buy guns.”

Then, the capper, a tweet from former President Obama to demonstrate contrast.

“We are grieving with Parkland. But we are not powerless. Caring for our kids is our first job. And until we can honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep them safe from harm, including long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws that most Americans want, then we have to change.”

The Guardian expressed the media’s disappointment Trump has not crumbled before gun-control advocates and ordered immediate and comprehensive legislation.

“Trump’s speech in response to Florida high school shooting was code for, forget background checks and other gun control measures,” read the subhead under the article’s headline, “Trump again emphasizes ‘mental health’ over gun control after Florida shooting.”

It then accused Trump of coming “dangerously close to blaming the victims” of the shooting with a tweet in which he called the suspect “mentally disturbed” and “stressed that it was important to ‘report such instances to authorities, again and again!’”

And whatever Trump said, he waited too long to do it, the Guardian wrote.

Trump waited more than 20 hours to make any public remarks, the story pointed out. Obama, by contrast, waited less than six to comment on the Sandy Hook shootings.

Later, it explained its real problem with Trump’s approach and those of Second Amendment supporters.

“He earned instant plaudits from supporters for a dignified tone as he spoke of ‘terrible violence, hatred and evil’ and, as he did after the Las Vegas shooting in October 2017, quoting scripture. He promised to visit Parkland.”

“But his emphasis on mental health rather than guns came from a familiar playbook focusing on individual rather than social or political culpability.”




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