Connecticut Shooting Media Coverage Follows Tragically Familiar Script

Media coverage of the mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut was all horribly, depressingly familiar.

First came the initial flurries of reports that a shooting had taken place in Connecticut. Tweets began flying around:

Local stations began cutting into their cheerful daytime programming with breaking newscasts. As the reports got worse and worse, cable news networks trained their focus on the elementary school. Broadcast networks cut in with special reports.
With every tweet, the death toll seemed to climb and climb. Witnesses talked about what they had seen. Since the shooting took place at a school, children had to talk about what had happened.

The issue of gun control came to the fore again -- though not, at least, on most television stations.

Broadcast news networks tweaked their Friday night schedules. NBC Nightly News will air a special coverage live from Newtown, CT. ABC News rescheduled Barbara Walters' "Christmas At The White House" special for next week. "World News" anchor Diane Sawyer will anchor a special report live from Newtown. Sawyer will return to ABC's air later to anchor a special edition of "20/20" at 10:00 p.m.

It was just like the shooting in Aurora, or the shooting at the Empire State Building, or the shooting at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin. These shootings, it seems, happen so often that the pattern of coverage can be repeated.

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