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Letter – Very Poor Reporting

Dear Editor:

The attempted assassination of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona was a horrifying event, indeed. The murder of six other people at a shopping mall event called, appropriately, “Congress on your corner” was terrifying.

Since this terrible event, media representatives have converged on the scene and talking heads on TV and radio have been relentless offering such insightful comments as, “we’ll let you know when further details emerge” and “it isn’t clear yet why this act was perpetrated.” Therapists have also been called in by the media to discuss details. In one case, the professional psychotherapist analyzed the alleged assailant and commented that “he should have never had a gun.” As a caveat, he added that he, “didn’t know all the details and was commenting from thousands of miles away.”

President Obama sent the Director of the FBI to the scene from Washington, D.C. Considering that Director Mueller is probably not a seasoned investigator or interrogator, would it have been as well if the President had announced that FBI Director Mueller has been asked to make sure we have the finest federal resources available for collecting evidence and filing charges?

Other elected officials have been called to studios and the question has been asked, “Does this change the political discourse in this country?” This is just a few hours after the terrible event and we are asking this sort of questions, including, “should we consider more protection for elected officials?” Pundits have coughed up comparisons with the Oklahoma City bombing and the Virginia Tech shootings of 2007. Important legislation has been postponed.

The father of the nine-year-old girl that lost her life was questioned by phone. The TV personality asked him, “Is there anything our viewers can do to help?” Is that a dumb question or what?

This commentary is not intended in any way to diminish the horrendous event that occurred in Tucson. But rather is meant to address whether or not the public deserves more than vague theories from the uninformed and speculation by unqualified pundits? Shouldn’t frenzied questioning and speculative reporting be replaced by accurate, timely news reporting?

– Dick Baynton, Roanoke

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