Sikh temple shooting getting less coverage than Aurora theater tragedy: Why?

sikh temple shooting wisconsin.jpg
Temple shooting.
On Sunday, a gunman opened fire on attendees at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, killing six people before dying at the hands of police. Yet the amount of coverage this horrific event has received thus far falls short of that devoted to the July 20 Aurora theater shooting nationally as well as locally. Is that because the victims looked less all-American than did those who perished at the Century 16? That's among the theories you can expect to hear in the coming days.

On the cover of today's Denver Post, the temple shooting is relegated to a tease on a left-side rail:

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Moreover, the paper's home page places the story below a report about the Mars rover and the successful qualification of local Olympian Jenny Simpson:

denver post home page sikh temple shooting.jpg
Such placement is actually quite typical of what we've seen this morning on a national scale. The Today show's web page has the shooting up top, in an even more prominent position than its interview with another home-state Olympian, Missy Franklin....

today show screen capture sikh theater shooting.jpg
...but Google News put Mars first when we checked....

google news screen capture sikh temple shooting.jpg
...and the New York Times' placement nearly requires cursor movement to find....

new york times screen capture sikh temple shooting.jpg
Since these decisions were made independently, rather than by some all-powerful press cabal, we can only speculate about motivations.

Perhaps editors and producers felt that after two weeks-plus of Aurora theater shooting coverage, news consumers were already overwhelmed by reports about mass shootings. Maybe the fact that the body count is (fortunately) lower and the killer, identified as former Army soldier Wade Michael Page, is already dead makes the incident moderately less gripping.

But you can bet some observers will also surmise that the setting of the shooting -- a worship space used by followers of a religion that may seem foreign to many American viewers -- makes the story less "relatable," in industry parlance. And while no one would dare admit to similar thinking about victims like Amardeep Kaleka, son of the temple's president, such charges will undoubtedly be forthcoming from some quarters.

Whatever the case, we'd urge national news agencies to give plenty of attention to the Wisconsin tragedy. No telling at this point whether it was based on racism and bigotry, as opposed to the apparent madness that likely fueled what happened in Aurora. But if that's the case, or even if it's not, this is an important story to tell whether or not the public is exhausted by such grim subject matter -- and regardless of the multiple syllables in the victims' names.

More from our Aurora Theater Shooting archive: "James Holmes Dies: Jokey Twitter account has 39,000 followers and falling."

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19 comments
kkrsk
kkrsk

Suffering of the Sikhs worldwide can easily be compared to the American Indians or Jews in Germany under Hitler if not worse. It's nothing new. Mughals killed millions of Sikhs including two of our Spiritual Leaders (5th and 9th Gurus). No one should ever forget 'Jallianwala Bagh incident' in which General Dyer opened fire on innocent people killing 2,000 Sikhs. For every 10 people that died for the independence of India, 8 were Sikhs and the counting of dead under British rule ran into millions. No one ever talks about those sacrifices. June 1984-Bluestar operation an organized effort to destroy Golden Temple and the Sikhs followed by Sikh Massacre (religious cleansing by the politicians in power after the death of Indra Gandhi) More than 10,000 Sikhs were killed in one day. Then 9/11 happened. Not a single Sikh was involved, not a single terrorist on those planes was a Sikh or a turbaned man but the media only highlighted turban as the enemy of the state. No media ever highlighted that the first Doctor on sight to help  9/11 victims was a turbaned Sikh and that after helping for many hours at a stretch he went back to freshen up and when he came back, he wasn't allowed. Last year two elderly Sikhs were killed in Sacramento while they were sitting in the park. Not a line about them anywhere. There is never a single line of humilation Sikhs face at the airports everyday under the pretext of security. Yesterday's incident did get some coverage but they didn't want to give the identity of the shooter because it would highlight the hatred that exists in the hearts of many. Who is responsible for that hatred...to a great extent media. But the truth be told Media is just a stooge in the hands of 'powers to be' and they can only do what they are instructed to regardless of so-called 'Freedom of Press'. Thanks for giving the coverage that you have. One humble request: Please do look at the history of Sikhs and you will find them to be the most wonderful warm, God loving, helpful, peace loving and loyal people in the world. They work hard, share with the world and help others. Here is a Fact that should get your attention. With about 1/2% of the world population, Sikhs feed 6 milion people free at their Sikh Gurdwaras (Temple) everyday worldwide. God Bless.

eCurmudgeon
eCurmudgeon

The first rule of the All-Powerful Press Cabal is that you do not talk about the All-Powerful Press Cabal.

reinhold23
reinhold23

It's been atop my Google News feed all morning. And correct me if I'm wrong, but that's an algorithm determining position on their page, not editorializing.

akmediaarts
akmediaarts

I was horrified by this event as I watched it unfold live - I happen to be watching a news broadcast over cable and catching up on news in India when they stopped events there to show a live broadcast from the Sikh Gurudwara.  I called friends and asked if they had heard anything - not a peep on any of the major news stations or even CNN for that matter.  I watched and waited and surfed and waited and then around 6pm eastern time I got a call from my brother who said they had finally posted something on the local news and he was watching it then. This played out across all the time zones where friends and family I contacted about this horrifric event.  Not until their local 6pm news did anyone see anything on television - note all this information was already blazing the the internet and even the New York Times sent out a news flash hours before any NYC television released any news of this event.  It seems all to clear that if this man had been  taking the lives of people dare I say it aloud "White" and the shooter had been BROWN, BLACK, YELLOW OR RED. It would have been played for hours on end.  Just a sad reminder that no matter how much we like to think we are accepted - that we are just another part of that "people of colour" which use to be a polite way to use the "N" word when speaking of blacks.  We are not seen as important enough or as real people.  I am an American, I am a Sikh and I am both hurt and saddened at the lack of coverage and the down playing of this heinous crime.

 

 

topdem
topdem

The media has spoken. White lives are more important than minorities. Another reason why journalism in this country is a joke.

Milwaukee
Milwaukee

people are becoming desensitized - something like this is happening far too often.  

numapompilius
numapompilius

Silliness in this whole thing... he "washed out of the Army"  years ago, that negates the foolish link of  "DonkeyHotay" and to a degree, jmpmk2 who wants this to be about gun  control and the need for more stringent laws (as if  that helped the folks in Norway)  jimaroyo is the most logical. perhaps a visit to the website of the major Wisconsin papers would provide a better idea of how much "coverage:" this is getting.  

jimaroyo
jimaroyo

True, the coverage should be more.  Of course, there are considerations, such as (1) not a local story, (2) Aurora shooting story continued with suspect's apartment reporting, and, (3) unfortunately, body count.  For (3), 70 people shot compared to 10 people shot makes for more drama.

jmpmk2
jmpmk2

Obviously, there are some touchier components to this particular story.  It's hard to villify an ex-Army sergeant without having to take a critical look at our military training and discharge practices -- and we all know you can't question the infallibility of the military in front of true "patriots".  The racial component is also difficult to discuss, especially considering this man likely mistook this minority group for Muslims (who, themselves, are too frequently targetted by incendiary language).

 

And then we have our political leaders conveniently ignoring the issue of gun control during an election year, despite it becoming more and more clear that reform is need in who we allow to carry these phallic compensation devices.

rain
rain

I was wondering some of the same things, Michael. There's relatively little coverage of this story and the coverage that is there isn't very deep. Are any of the national news/morning shows going to broadcast from Oak Creek? Not that I know of. But why not? Is it because of the Olympics? Because there's no Batman/Joker component? Because the shooter is being described as a racist skinhead white "supremicist" rather than being a graduate student in medicine?

davebarnes
davebarnes topcommenter

Wisconsin:

1/2 the number killed in Aurora

no Batman tie-in

no Columbine tie-in

killer is dead

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

 @akmediaarts Very passionate post, akmediaarts. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks for weighing in.

eCurmudgeon
eCurmudgeon

 @topdem "White lives are more important than minorities."

Attractive, white, female lives even more so.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @jimaroyo 

 

... just another day in the bullet-riddled hail of American Gun MADNESS!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @rain A U$ Military Racist White-Supremacist.

 

"Support Our Troops" ... "Stay the Course" ... "Mission Accomplished" ...

 

 

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