In the wake of the murders of WDBJ-TV’s Alison Parker and Adam Ward, former television news personality Dan Rather is urging journalists to seize on gun violence the way they seized on Ebola.
Rather contends that journalists are “failing us on gun violence” by doing anything less.
According to Mashable, Rather began pushing for such coverage on August 27–they day after Parker and Ward were gunned down by a former co-worker, who passed a background check to acquire his firearm. Rather said, “We will wring our hands, talk about missed warning signs, and ultimately move on. We’ll throw up our hands like we always do. It pains me to say this, but this is journalistic malpractice and a societal tragedy.”
He contends that there is a better way for journalists to cover this heinous crime and similar ones.
He points to the Australian gun ban as an option to the constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms in the United States. He described Australia as a country possessing “a spirit of rugged individualism and … frontier like the United States,” yet they were able to ban guns, so why can’t we?
Rather encourages journalists to work toward such a ban by covering gun violence the same way they covered Ebola–relentlessly. And he stresses that journalists must do this even if it leads to anti-gun hysteria.
Rather’s exact words:
Think back to all the breathless coverage around the Ebola outbreak and the death of the patient in Dallas. That was indeed frightening, but there was a consensus that we as a nation must do whatever we could, spend whatever needed, to protect ourselves. And journalists dissected every angle, sometimes fueling the hysteria.
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