How the media’s obsession with mass killings is killing us

In recent years, the frequency of mass killings and school shootings has increased dramatically in this country. While gun grabbers quickly blame the accessibility of guns, researchers at Arizona State University and Northeastern University are pointing the finger at another culprit: the media.

According to the report “Contagion in Mass Killings and School Shootings,” published in the Public Library of Science journal Plos One, as many as 20 to 30 percent of attacks are set off by other attacks.

Using databases maintained by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and FBI reports, researchers found “significant evidence that mass killings involving firearms are incented by similar events in the immediate past. On average, this temporary increase in probability lasts 13 days, and each incident incites at least 0.30 new incidents.”

Professor Sherry Towers, a co-writer of the report, said she wondered if this was “just a statistical fluke, or if somehow through news media those events were sometimes planting unconscious ideation in vulnerable people for a short time after the event.”

Unsurprisingly, they found that the latter was true. The mainstream media’s fixation on gun-related tragedies—often to promote their gun grabbing agenda—has actually had the effect of promoting more mass killings and school shootings.

“What we believe may be happening is national news media attention is like a ‘vector’ that reaches people who are vulnerable,” Towers told CNN.

While the report doesn’t go much further than making this link, it’s easy to break down the anti-gun motives of the mainstream media. Reporters spend hours covering every single update on gun tragedies to scare the public and make the case for gun control. A lot of Americans haven’t fallen for it, but madmen have used it for inspiration.

If there was any doubt that the media was to blame for this crime wave, the report goes on to say that the spread of school shootings and mass killings was not dependent on location. This single fact completely obliterates the argument for more gun control in states that are more “gun-friendly,” and suggests that the media is the real perpetrator.

As Jack Levin, a criminologist at Northeastern University, so aptly notes, “We make celebrities out of monsters.”

Interestingly enough, even The Atlantic, a left-leaning magazine, agrees that the media has gone too far. Back in December of 2013, the magazine published an article entitled, “The Media Needs to Stop Inspiring Copycat Murders. Here’s How,” by sociologist Zeynep Tufekci.

Tufekci points out that “after a wave of teen suicides in the 1980s, news outlets began reporting on these deaths more cautiously,” and that suicide (especially among teens), are “contagious” as well. While Tufekci doesn’t completely blame the media, he concludes “sensational news coverage is, increasingly, part of the mix of events that contributes to these rampages.”

The trend is fairly obvious: the crazier the attacker, the more media attention he gets, which, in turn, inspires copycats.

Will the media ever accept blame and scale back its coverage of these tragedies? Probably not.

More than likely, politics will continue to get in the way as the gun control agenda relentlessly pervades the network airwaves. But we shouldn’t give up hope. The facts are on our side, and education is the best tool at our disposal.

The mainstream media needs to be shamed with the facts. It’s a matter of life and death.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of

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