Two more mass shootings, but Twitter is on it! And I am sure Twitter will bring out the best in everyone as it always does,* and produce consensus solutions by tomorrow morning.
As Glenn Reynolds reminds us every time there is a shooting, initial media reports are often wrong and usually incomplete, but the first media themes often take hold and are hard to dislodge later. (The most persistent is one of the oldest—that JFK was killed because of a “climate of hate” in Dallas, whereas the actual killer was a devoted Communist.)
So here’s one suggestion I’ve made before: if the media really want to help stanch the contagion of politicized mass shootings, stop publishing the manifestos these nutcases put out. The El Paso shooter apparently (I’m not going to read the thing) referenced the manifesto of the recent New Zealand shooter. The mish-mash of themes (anti-immigration along with environmental Malthusianism??) that have appeared in these disturbed rantings seem deliberately calculated to spark a futile debate over which political faction “owns” the shooter. So instead of mourning we just yell louder. You’d almost suspect these manifestos of being a Russian operation. I see that Beto O’Rourke wasted no time in blaming President Trump and Fox News, just as Bill Clinton blamed Rush Limbaugh for the Oklahoma City bombing back in 1995.
Could this work? Probably not. With the open-access internet, trying to suppress these manifestos would make wack-a-mole look easy. On the other hand, when TV networks stopped televising people who run onto the field at major league baseball and NFL games, fewer people did it. It couldn’t hurt for CNN to give it a try.
* For example: