"Persistent vegetative state" is the new "high school shooting spree"

Amanda over at Pandagon posts exactly the thoughts I've been having ever since I was watching the news last night (ABC -- no, I don't know why) and they said about 10 minutes in that they had breaking news and announced the school shooting in Minnesota. This wasn't local news breaking in, this was part of the regular newscast. I guess my first clue should've been that it wasn't the lede at the top of the newscast, even though it would've happened in time for them to cover it at the beginning, if only in brief.

Call it innate suspicion, but I immediately flipped through all the 24/7 networks to see what coverage it was getting. Every single one had Terry Schiavo coverage or some talking head bloviating about Terry Schiavo. That brief snippet I'd seen was the only thing I saw all night about it until the 11 o'clock local news.

Now, I'm not saying that school shootings should get the kind of sensational coverage they got back in the day. The glamorizing effect of that kind of coverage, to my mind, only made the problem worse. But. We were living in Laramie when Columbine happened and because we were about 12 miles from the Colorado border (and 120 from Denver), all but one of our "local" stations was broadcast out of Denver. I happened to be at home sick the day of the Columbine shootings and the coverage was wall-to-wall for HOURS. Local news, of course, but as soon as the national networks and cable news channels could get their units on-site, it was all Columbine, all the time. And then the two weeks of coverage, where Columbine was the lede every night and after it'd dropped off the national radar, the local news was still obsessing over it for weeks after that.

This is the first school shooting with a high body count in almost 6 years, the kind of event the media seems to crave. So the fact that it's not really getting much coverage -- let alone the wall-to-wall coverage of Columbine -- speaks volumes...about the racial disparities still so deeply ingrained in our society and the death grip the Rethugs have on the media.

The former, because the shooting happened at a Reservation high school, the shooter was a Native American (or, in wingnut parlance, "brown people"), as were his victims, presumably. Compare that with the shooting in an upper middle class suburban high school where the vast majority of the students were white, the shooters were white, and most of their victims were white. I guess that old news adage of "if it bleeds, it leads" only applies if the blood is blue and the skin is white.

I also suspect the Terry Schiavo case remains at the top because Tom Delay et al want it to remain at the top and the media are nothing if not trained circus monkeys. Delay started this whole brouhaha to get the attention off him and his ethical and legal troubles and he's not about to let some Indian kid bump off the story that's keeping his nuts out of a vice.

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