Media template to cover mass shootings

The Daily Show has analyzed the trajectory of media coverage in the wake of mass shootings like the recent one in California and since such events have become so routine, has created a template that the media can use to quickly cover them.

(This clip aired on June 2, 2014. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)


  1. kyoseki says

    The standard reactions from both sides of the gun control debate pretty much work to a formula as well.

  2. says

    What, you mean where reasonable people say “Hey, you know, in places where there aren’t so many guns this doesn’t happen nearly as much” while the assholes scream about “mah RIGHTS!!!!!!! given by GAWD!!!!! Don’t take my toys, you’re not the boss of me, WAAAHHHHHH WAHHHH WAHHHH!!!! Is that the dynamic you’re talking about?

  3. kyoseki says

    Yeah, pretty much, except it usually takes the form of:
    “You know, sensible gun control laws would have stopped this” (which they wouldn’t)
    “If more people had had guns, that would have stopped this” (which it also wouldn’t)

    The only way to stop mass shootings is if nobody has guns, however, even going so far as to make all guns illegal won’t do that, you have to make people WANT to give up their guns before you can take them and so far I have yet to see anyone suggest a means by which that is likely to happen even without getting into the popularity or constitutionality of the argument.

  4. says

    Except, nitwit, that sensible gun control laws massively massively reduce the number of mass shootings. No solution is perfect, but gun control works a hell of a lot better than no gun control. Number of mass shootings in all of Western Europe in the last decade: 4 AFAICT. Number of mass shootings in Japan in the last decade: 0
    Number of mass shootings in the U.S. in the last years: 4 that I can think of offhand. Does this say anything to you?

  5. lorn says

    Why is it that the US has to be that one guy, you know the one, the one that feels obligated, duty bound even, to do whatever you tell him to do as long as you use those magic words: a real man would do it. You know the guy. He missed graduation because he was having the handlebars of his motorcycle surgically removed after someone said a real man could stand on the seat of his motorcycle, going 70, while shotgunning a bottle of tequila. Yes, the Youtube video is a classic, street lights flashing by, him standing on the seat and working the steering by balance, and then he leans back and chugs the whole bottle and ends with a SEG and the worm sticking out his teeth. A classic move, pure raw machismo … what balls … what style .. where did that curve come from?

    America is in love with its macho symbols and there is nothing so macho as a gun. And while other more effeminate nations may limit gun ownership it remains a sacrosanct here in the US. Because …

    Because of all the nations we are the one that won’t grow up. We are the nation that can’t solve its problems using any method not developed here. It has to be a method shown to work in a movie with real actors who play real men, who we want to be like.

  6. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Define “sensible gun control laws”.

    The ones used by other developed nations where this shit doesn’t happen and which also have failed to become the dystopian wastelands a la Mad Max that gun fondlers predict.

  7. AsqJames says

    Every time there’s a mass shooting or spree killing story I think of this clip from Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe, and then i think about all the news editors, station managers and journalists, a significant proportion of whom have received this or similar advice, who nevertheless go on to cover the story in exactly the worst way possible.

  8. Mobius says

    Hannity: “If they can’t kill with a gun, they will kill with a knife.”

    Which ignores completely just how much more lethal a gun is. There is a very good reason we abandoned swords for guns in warfare.

  9. kyoseki says

    The ones used by other developed nations where this shit doesn’t happen and which also have failed to become the dystopian wastelands a la Mad Max that gun fondlers predict.

    … and people are proposing those are they?

    I would personally love to see more European style gun laws, which all stem from the fact that you have to earn the right to own a gun there, but that’s not the script we get after a mass shooting.

    The script invariably goes “we need to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines and mandate background checks for everyone” followed by equally inane rhetoric from the “cold dead hands” guys which completely misses the fundamental point which is that none of these laws will have the slightest effect on mass shootings, which more often than not don’t use assault weapons, don’t need high capacity magazines and are invariably committed by guys that bought them legally anyway so background checks won’t work either.

    In other words, laws proposed in order to make it LOOK like the politicians are doing something rather than legislation that would have any real effect (it’s either that, or they honestly don’t know how ineffective the proposed legislation is going to be, which also wouldn’t surprise me, a lot of Democrat legislators seem to be as clueless about guns as GOP legislators are about climate change).

    The other part of the script is pointing at countries like the UK & Japan whilst ignoring cultural differences between them & the US. I’m British, I remember the Hungerford & Dunblane massacres & the public outcry that followed. The people as a whole WANTED to get rid of firearms, which were never particularly popular anyway (again, unlike the US), but the UK never had a significant gun violence problem even when you could buy “assault weapons” (outside of a couple of horrendous mass shootings, the overall gun violence rate was negligible), so the fact remains that the underlying culture was signficantly different and those making the comparisons always fail to address how you change US culture to one that actively wants to give up guns, because until that point, you’ll never be able to pass any significant legislation.

  10. Holms says

    You seem to be ignoring that those ‘earn your guns’ are frequently proposed, but are shot down just as hard by the gun nuts as anything else.

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