Media Lessons from the Roseburg Tragedy (blog)

john parker msnbc

If you’re like me, you’ve spent the past several days feeling numb in the wake of the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. We’ve had way too many of these shootings and it’s heartbreaking every time – but the Roseburg Tragedy, being in Cascadia, rips at my heart that much more.

During the past couple of days I’ve been obsessed with media coverage of the event and have been reading lots of articles and watching many interviews.

I saw one curious interview subject named John Parker. Though it’s clear John is a man of integrity, I think it’s interesting to observe the way the following two interviews were conducted, because each would leave audiences to draw starkly different conclusions.

The Fox interview in particular is not journalism. It’s a demonstration of a clear bias and agenda from our pals at Fox News.

Here he is interviewed by conservative propagandist Sean Hannity. Seanny Baby leads, opines and frames every single question to reaffirm his own worldview (and presumably, that of the typical Fox viewer). Sean states John Parker was willing to help, but was “prevented” by the school staff (GD liberals!) from assisting victims. Further feeding the misinformation campaign, Hannity incorrectly states that the campus is a gun-free zone (presumably to continue to misguide his viewers into believing gun laws don’t work). Sean then interjects his own personal opinion on how he believes armed guards should be present on all schools campuses, especially inner-city schools, and abruptly changes the subject. But don’t take my word for it – check this out:

Here’s John Parker again on MSNBC. This interview is conducted by what appears to be a real-live professionally trained journalist who asks more poignant questions and doesn’t have a clear agenda. Whereas in the previous interview, John Parker was “prevented” from assisting victims by the school staff (GD liberals!), in this interview John states that if there was something he could have done, he would have, but he made the choice (along with some other vets) not to get involved to avoid becoming a potential target from both the shooter and the SWAT team. Whereas in the first segment he waffled on the question on whether or not he was allowed to possess a concealed firearm (because of the confusing manner in which Sean framed the misleading question), in this segment John is much clearer, even quoting the Oregon constitution (Article 1, Section 27).

So what is a citizen to make of these two interviews?