Mass Shooting coverage in Television news

I’m sure that by now we are all aware of the recent mass shooting that took place in California. While news still is technically “breaking”, i think it is important to see how the coverage differs between the different television networks.

Interestingly enough CNN was focused mainly on just getting out what happened and what is happening. Pretty much across the board CNN had what seemed to be pretty unbiased coverage and stuck to facts. I totally expected this to blow up into a political debate on CNN and move away from the fact that 14 people were killed and countless others were wounded. CNN had brought in  Bob Baer, a veteran CIA case officer, to explain what was happening on the ground at the time and give viewers an insight into the investigation as it progressed. One of the most impacting points that was made by Bob Baer was “this has all the hallmarks of terror attacks that are seen in the Middle East, but we have to keep all the options on the table at this point”. As the shows went on that theme seemed to stay and the facts were simply laid out for the viewers free from bias. In fact several times the “experts” would preface their answers with a variation of “well i have my own biases when i say the following…”.

On the other side i had Fox News on and was looking at how they discussed the incident. seemingly right off the bat, being the starkly conservative network they are, Fox News seemed to blow this out of proportion. they had to correct their own previous statements frequently and they really seemed to drive home the tie between Syrian refugees, ISIS, and these killers. There was almost no updates, instead the prevalent topic was in regards to ISIS and what we should do as a country with refugees given this mass shooting. it was pure 100% speculation on the part of Fox News for the majority if not all of the time on every show. It seemed that every discussion that was being had on Fox news was being redundant and continuing the stance against refugees.


It is important to note that as soon as the suspect’s name was released, first by Fox News, the conversation did turn more towards refugees and our response as a country. While CNN said that they had a name but wanted to wait to release it until confirmation from officials, Fox News straight up came right out with the name misspelling it multiple times and in one instance displaying an ISIS flag as a backdrop behind the name for a brief moment. So clearly there is some form of bias on the part of Fox News and while i was surprised and optimistic for CNN, after the release of the suspect’s name they seemed to hop on the anti-refugee bandwagon. Yet as time goes on the story is just a variation of “refugees pose a threat to the US”. Fox News almost never discussed what happened and why it did, nor did they look into the background like CNN and others did.


Mass Shooting coverage in Television news

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