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A Tale of Two Stories

A Tale of Two Stories

Media Prioritizes Gadgets Over Gun Violence

Is the launch of a thinner iPad bigger news than a teenager gunning down a teacher at school? Cable news seems to think so.

ThinkProgress took a look at the coverage of the two stories on Monday and here’s what they found:

On Monday morning, another school — this time in Sparks, Nevada — was thrown into chaos when a seventh grader brought in his parents’ semi-automatic handgun and shot a teacher, two 12-year-old boys, and himself. Local news outlets, notably the Reno Gazette-Journal, immediately and thoroughly reported the developing story on the ground. But as the tragedy unfolded, major cable news channels chose not to cover it as a breaking news event, only mentioning the shooting sparingly throughout the day.

According to a ThinkProgress analysis of the media monitoring site TVEyes between 10 am EST on October 21 and midnight, Fox News and MSNBC barely discussed the Sparks Middle School shooting on Monday. Fox News had nine mentions of the shooting, while MSNBC talked about the shooting just five times. CNN’s coverage was more regular, mentioning the keyword “Sparks” 19 times.

By contrast, another breaking news event on Tuesday attracted a flurry of media attention. The hype surrounding Apple’s press conference releasing the new iPad and iPad mini started growing hours before the event. All in all, the Apple event got more coverage than the Sparks shooting on all three channels: CNN mentioned the Apple event 23 times on Tuesday, while Fox News mentioned it 12 times and MSNBC mentioned it nine times.