Two days after 26 people were massacred in a Texas church, coverage by major cable news networks had nearly vanished, as charted by TV News Archive. It is the latest indication that rampage gun attacks aren’t generating the kind of sustained news coverage they once did.
Two days after 26 people were massacred in a Texas church, one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history had nearly vanished from the major cable news networks, The Trace reports. The sharp drop-off in the number of mentions of the Sutherland Springs shooting on the networks, as charted by TV News Archive, is the latest indication that rampage gun attacks aren’t generating the kind of sustained news coverage they once did. On Nov. 5, the day of the massacre, 0.26 percent of all sentences spoken on CNN, CNBC, FOX, FOX Business, MSNBC, and Bloomberg made reference to the Sutherland Springs shooting or the gunman, Devin Kelley. By Nov. 14, mentions of the shooting had nearly flatlined on those six networks.
A previous analysis of coverage of the massacre in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 — which killed 58 people and wounded hundreds of others, making it the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history — found that mentions of the shooting on those six networks dropped off within six days, and had all but vanished from coverage within two weeks. One gun-reform advocate, concerned by the fact that mass shootings slip from the news cycle so quickly, had hoped that the tragic details of the massacre would ensure that Sutherland Springs was discussed longer than other mass shootings that featured an element of domestic violence. “Up until now, the media would lose interest in a shooting once they found out it was a domestic violence incident and not a ‘real’ crime,” said Amanda Johnson of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Sutherland Springs is a game changer.” Judging by an analysis of the cable news coverage, it wasn’t.