People worldwide depend on the mass media for information and news happening locally and internationally. Media is an essential source of information through passing important messages, educating, and entertaining the citizen. However, several incidences of mass shootings in the United States of America are mainly associated with the shooters’ race (Frizzell et al 11). This document will address how the race of mass shooters initiates media coverage of their crimes.
The article describes how the media covered two mass shooting incidences that individuals of different races performed. In 2014, a former police officer- Josh Boren murdered himself, his wife, and children in their home. Another mass killing occurred when David Ray Conley killed several people the following year (Frizzell et al 1). These two cases were handled differently depending on the shooter’s race, despite both having histories of domestic violence and criminal traits. Conley was responsible for his crime, while the media coverage favored Boren. Boren was a Native American, while Conley was an African America. Although Boren committed a criminal act, the media did not focus on his bad traits; instead, it concentrated on the excellent personality and admirable parenting. Boren’s crime was associated with the recent stress of his wife’s divorce. In the other case, the mass media focused Conley’s case with his prior incidences of domestic violence and charges of possessing drugs (Frizzell et al 5). The difference portrayed in media coverage between the two mass killings indicates that the race of the shooters determines the fate of criminals. Black Africans are seen as offenders and have uncontrolled personalities. This condition is caused by the stereotype of assuming all whites are superior while blacks are inferior.
A study was done from 2013 to 2015 on print news articles covered 219 mass shootings explained how media has influenced race to portray a criminal by only defining the crime committed. This research concluded that the shooter’s race intensely determined whether mass media framed the shooter as psychologically ill or had behavioral disorders. This study also showed that very few females commit mass killing crimes while majority are males. Based on the study findings, almost ninety-five percent of crimes performed by white mass shooters are associated with mental illness, while only two percent were African shooters. (Frizzell et al 12). These were pure evidence that the society perceive whites to have upright characters and the only few who are insane are capable of committing the mass killing. This case is seen opposite with the Blacks where majority perform crimes due to unstable character while a few do killing due to insanity.
Mass media also predicts the mass shooter’s race based on empathy using various defending factors. White mass shooters are never responsible for their actions, but another factor is blamed for their behaviors. When Native Americans commit mass killings, they are framed to have mental illness and described as victims of circumstances (Frizzell et al 15). Other factors like harsh childhood, unsuccessful relationship, and financial problems are always blamed for the crimes. These factors are not considered with the other races, especially the African Americans and the Hispanics. These studies indicate that the media display violent behaviors of the white’s offender as unlucky victims of circumstances and ailments. For the African shooters, the media cast their crimes showing the public, victim had moral decay and inheritance criminality.
Conclusively, the article has evidenced mass shooting killers are treated differently according to their races by the mass media. The media empathizes with white’s victims while the blacks are viewed having behavioral misconduct. The media has a responsibility to treat each person equally despite their race. Everybody can break the law, and the punishment should also be equal. Each crime has a punishment that is equivalent to it. The world could be a peaceful place if the media do not cover criminals from a racial perspective because whatever it displays actively determines the citizen’s perception of reality.
Frizzell, L et al. (2018) ” Race of Mass Shooters Influences How the Media Cover Their Crimes, New Study Shows, 27 July 2018, news.osu.edu/race-of-mass-shooters-influences-how-the-media-cover-their-crimes-new-study-shows/. https://news.osu.edu/race-of-mass-shooters-influences-how-the-media-cover-their-crimes-new-study-shows/