Friday, November 06, 2009

Hm, why could they be going out of business?

Hint: it's not the economy.

Oh, by the way, there are those soldiers he killed...
It's much more about the choices they make about what's important to talk about. To the MSN folks from whom I've screen-capped this bit, it's not that 13 were killed. It's that he was mortified about deployment, had been harassed for his Muslim faith - the implication clearly being that he was a decent guy pushed too far by those bastard American soldiers.

The actual dead? Oh, yeah, I suppose we can mention them.

Now look, I know that this is not conscious. My own journalism classes covered this sort of thing - look for the angle, find the motivations, tell people why. I don't object to that. What I find really frustrating is that this information is the hook to the story.

It would have been just as easy to put "Thirteen killed in Fort Hood Shooting - suspect in custody" as the bold, top print, and then underneath, that he didn't want to go overseas and had alleged harassment. For that matter it would have been just as easy to say that he had alleged the harassment, instead of reporting it as established fact. This morning's Asbury Park Press described Major Hasan as the alleged shooter - but to them harassment was fait accompli.

That's my objection - it's not just reporting the facts, it's the reflexive "they must have done something to him to make him do this" attitude. The harassment may be true. But less than 24 hours after this horror, why are the Times and MSN laying the groundwork for this monstrous act to be excused and explained away? Are they really so blind as to miss how indecent that is to the dead and their families? It's nauseating.

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