In our world today, people tend to jump straight to conclusions without knowing the truth. Fake news and lies spread much quicker on social media than the truth does. Falsehood spreads very quickly on social media getting quicker and longer-lasting pickup than the truth does. Often, the media and news provide false information to readers because they themselves do not take the time to look at the other side. They provide false information behind various forms of attacks, with one being a major school shooting. The Columbine shooting was, at the time, the worst high school shooting in U.S. history. In the book Columbine, author David Cullen goes on to explain the three major problems that the media covered during the Columbine shooting.
One of the first major media coverage problem, only 2 hours in, was who they were blaming for the attack. The media had assigned to the blame for the attack at Columbine to the TCM. TCM stands for “Trench Coat Mafia” which was a social affiliation of former and current Columbine students with no organizational structure or any form of leadership. They were “portrayed as a cult of homosexual Goths in makeup, orchestrating a bizarre death pact for the year 2000 (Cullen 210).” The killers did wear trench coats, so it just seemed fast and easy to go ahead and blame TCM. Cullen states the media was careful when addressing what was happening as “disclaimers like ‘believed to be’ or ‘describes as,’(Cullen 211).” However, it was not what they were saying that was the major problem, it was the repetition of false information that caused confusion among the families and students who were seeing what was happening on TV.
All throughout the shooting, the media was assuring everyone that they were getting all the information from the students who were in the building. However, the students were actually being informed by the coverage they saw on TV. This caused everyone a great deal of confusion. No one knew what was real or not. “In those first five hours, not a single person on the CNN feeds asked a student how they knew the killers were part of the Trench Coat Mafia (211).”
The biggest problem they encountered was the failure to question what was actually going on. Everyone all over town were talking about the Trench Coat Mafias thinking that they were the ones who did it. Nevertheless, what they were hearing was false and they were repeating misleading information.
The media said that the killers were targeting jocks. A junior named Bree Pasquale became a witness when she escaped the building. Bree described what was happening in the library in great detail. “‘They were shooting anyone of color, wearing a white hat, or playing a sport’ she said. ‘And they didn’t care who it was…(Cullen 212).’” So when Bree Pasquale stated what she witnessed happen, it contradicted what the media said earlier about the killers only targeting the jocks because now they know that the killers did not care who they were killing whoever they say they shot. The media’s goal to explain the main purpose for the shooters was powered with their false factual repetitions.
In conclusion, even the media today gives out false information that can be very misleading. During the Columbine shooting, there was a great deal of confusion which could have been easily avoided. The author, David Cullen, explains the three major problems on how the media covered the story. Even when we don’t realize it, the media produces and airs false information daily. The people of today need to dig in deeper to uncover the truth for themselves because others may not want to show all of it. No one should ever believe everything they see or hear because it may be false.
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