Entertainment & Arts

Networks Cover Texas School Massacre With Shock, Anger And Resignation: “Every Time, We Pray Things Are Going To Be Different”

In the initial hours after the horrific Texas school massacre, in which 18 children and one adult was killed, CNN’s Jake Tapper noted that politicians’ expressions of thoughts and prayers “has sadly become a cliche at this point.”

But even calling it a cliche seems like a cliche, because the mass shootings, and school massacres in particular, keep happening.

Ed Lavandera, covering the shooting for CNN, was able to give some insight to a reunification center that had been set up for parents at Ross Elementary, as he recalled the same set up for Sandy Hook Elementary. “You could hear the yelling and screaming of the parents who were there,” he said.

Broadcast networks broke in with special reports during the afternoon, and plans are to dispatch morning and evening news anchors to Texas. On Wednesday, Lester Holt will anchor NBC Nightly News from Uvalde, TX, and David Muir will be there for World News Tonight. Tony Dokoupil will anchor CBS Mornings and CBS Evening News from there as well, with Norah O’Donnell off after testing positive for Covid over the weekend.

In the initial hours after the full extent of the shooting became known, broadcast and cable outlets mixed breaking news coverage with analysis. Underlying much of the commentary were renewed efforts to identify why, decades after Columbine, almost 10 years since Sandy Hook and more than four years since Marjory Stoneman Douglas, so little has been done to stop the massacres.

Holt wrapped up NBC Nightly News on Tuesday by telling viewers, “Every time, every time, we pray things are going to be different. We search for motives, for answers, for the way these horrible scenes can never happen again.”

Bret Baier said on Fox NewsSpecial Report that “no matter where you are going to put it — Democrat, Republican, independent. This can’t keep happening. It just can’t.”

On MSNBC, there was a focus was on the permissiveness of Texas’ gun laws. John Heilemann highlighted a 2015 tweet that Greg Abbott sent when he was a candidate for governor, in which he wrote that he was “EMBARRASSED” (all caps) that the state was No. 2 behind California for all new gun purchases. “Let’s pick up the pace, Texans. @NRA.”

Matthew Dowd, another political analyst, said that in Texas, “every single political leader in office, Republican, wants to do nothing about gun reform.”

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was shot and killed in the Parkland, FL school shooting in 2018, said to MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, “They f—ing failed our kids again.”

On Fox News, the massacre was the focus of The Five, with a mix of reporting from Bill Melguin, and a discussion among the pundits as to whether this was the right moment to talk politics.

Greg Gutfeld said that he didn’t like “talking about this stuff as it happens, because I don’t think it contributes anything positive.” Guest Kellyanne Conway said, “I just want to warn the political people, Republicans and Democrats, [and] a lot of people in the media. Don’t stomp on these innocent children tonight to make your political points.”

But politics, said regular Jeanine Pirro, was inevitable, suggesting that a fear of guns was what was preventing a solution. Asked by Jesse Watters what the political obstacles were to having armed guards at schools, she said, “The pushback is that people today, many of them are intimidated. They are triggered if there is someone with a gun. They are frightened. That is the new narrative.”

That may be a new take, but as we have seen in so many other mass shootings, the storyline always seems to remain the same.

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