Posted by: MikeP | October 5, 2015

Umpqua Incident Highlights Media Ethics

I recall on Monday we were given a bit of a free pass for the blog this first week, so I’m testing it out. The following blog relates to our media log assignment, but also our reading assignment for the week.

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 our state, rips at my heart that much more.

I’ve been obsessed with media coverage of the event (which I’ve logged for class) 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.

Here he is interviewed by Sean Hannity, who leads, opines and frames every single question to reaffirm his own worldview (and presumably, that of the typical Fox viewer). Don’t take my word for it – check this out:

Here’s John Parker again on MSNBC. This interview is conducted by a journalist who asks more poignant questions and doesn’t appear to have a clear agenda.

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

There are several passages from the reading that relate directly to this scenario:

“… citizens’ moral obligations transcend the collection of information and include a mandate to conscientiously absorb pluralistic information that will inform them well on all the significant facets of a given topic.” 


“… online activity suggests the danger of only consulting reinforcing sources, collecting information that conforms to predispositions, prejudices, and biases, virtually eliminating pluralistic media consumption.”


“Incessant public onslaughts against the media are facts of life, as are public appeals to discipline or discredit media in the battles for power. Reduced media credibility causes audiences to rely on opinion leaders who direct followers to specific decisions, rather than promoting pluralism and public discussion.”

What are your thoughts?

(this blog is an adaptation of a post I wrote at the Me And My Friends Podcast website)


  1. Hey Mike, this is some excellent comparative media analysis, nice work! I could see this turned into a Daily Show segment if it wasn’t so sad. That Hannity interview was exasperating to watch. And you’re right, John Parker is an amazingly thoughtful and articulate man. He’s an excellent role model for reasonable gun owners everywhere, especially in the MSNBC interview where he lists the reasons that citizens running into an active shooter situation with guns drawn could be disastrous and he reveals that his gun got him out of having to ride the shuttle bus home.

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