Have the Media Ignored the Sikh Shootings?
I’ll be honest: when I saw The Dark Knight Rises two days after the Aurora shooting, I was scared. The media’s unrelenting gaze, both then and since, has made the tragedy impossible to ignore. While agreeing such extensive coverage is justified, Huffington Post writer Riddhi Shah laments the comparatively modest attention the recent Sikh Temple shooting in Wisconsin has received.
Among major broadcast news stations, Shah notes, “only CNN was covering” the story the night of the attack. News was so scarce an Indian grocer Shah interviewed only found out “when people from India began calling.”
Why? Shah invites us to consider the possibility that media-coverage is ethno-racially skewed: “What if, instead of a white supremacist, the attacker had been a Muslim fundamentalist, and the place of worship a synagogue or a church? Would Fox News have aired a segment about a Latin American prison just hours after the shooting?” If you think her question sounds rhetorical, you’ve already made her point.
Although there are reasons the Aurora shooting may resonate more with the general American public, I think the media has a responsibility to report significant news irrespective of the projected ratings. As Henry Grunwald said: journalism can never be silent. That includes when the news-subjects are devotees of an unfamiliar religion.
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