Wrapping Up a Tough Week of News in Texas

From the Poynter Report with Tom Jones:

Today’a Poynter Report is dedicated to coverage of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two adults were murdered by an 18-year-old gunman.

What happened?

Days after the shooting, there are questions about the police response. Video has surfaced showing parents of the schoolchildren imploring police to go in, or wanting to go into the school themselves.

The Washington Post’s Bryan Pietsch, Andrew Jeong, Annabelle Timsit, Adela Suliman and Timothy Bella wrote, “Parents have criticized police in the aftermath, saying they were unprepared and acted too slowly.”

The Post also wrote, “A regional director with the Texas Department of Public Safety, Victor Escalon Jr., said at a news conference Thursday that the shooter was ‘not confronted by anybody’ as he entered the elementary school in Uvalde, contradicting earlier reports. He said officers arrived on the scene four minutes after the shooter entered the building and that the gunman was killed approximately an hour after arriving at the campus.”

CNN’s Eric Levenson, Holly Yan and Elizabeth Wolfe reported that Escalon offered a “muddled timeline” for what happened on Tuesday and they added, “He struggled to explain why the police response took an hour, saying that would come further in the investigation.”

They also wrote, “And nearly 48 hours later, serious questions still remain about how an 18-year-old with an assault-style rifle got inside the school, what law enforcement did in response and how the gunman was able to remain inside for as long as an hour before a tactical team finally forced its way in and killed him.”

Also, read this story from The Washington Post’s Jon Swaine, Joyce Sohyun Lee and Mark Berman: “As timeline emerges, police criticized for response to school massacre.”

Notable journalism

A grotesque deja vu

The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi and Elahe Izadi noted that it was less than two weeks ago when CNN’s Victor Blackwell stood outside a supermarket in Buffalo and got emotional as he added all the mass shootings he had covered. “I’ve done 15 of these, at least the ones I can count,” he said.

Now it’s 16 following the shooting in Texas.

As Fahri and Izadi wrote, “Media coverage of the massacre in Uvalde feels like a grotesque deja vu — the initial police alerts, the teeming crime scene, the live helicopter shots, the family tragedies and, inevitably, another round of inconclusive debates about gun control and mental health.”

For The San Antonio Report, Robert Rivard wrote about the Wednesday press conference held by Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republicans. (It’s the press conference that was interrupted by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke.)

Rivard wrote, “In a state deeply divided on issues of gun control, Wednesday’s press conference, with all its drama, will do little to change the minds of voters, much less heal the wounds of the families left to mourn their lost loved ones.”

Powerful late-night monologues

On his show Wednesday, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel gave an emotional nine-minute monologue about the shooting. He taped it in a studio without an audience. He was only seconds into it before his tears forced him to pause. His grief then turned to anger when he spoke about lawmakers, saying, “Our cowardly leaders just aren’t listening to us, they’re listening to the NRA, they’re listening to those people who write them checks, who keep them in power, because that’s the way politics work.”

He then addressed Texas politicians, saying, “I would like to say to Ted Cruz, the human being, and Gov. Abbott, and everyone, it’s OK to admit you made a mistake. In fact, it’s not just OK, it’s necessary to admit you made a mistake when your mistake is killing the children in your state. It takes a big person to do something like that. It takes a brave person to do something like that. And do I think these men are brave people? No, I don’t. But man, I would love it if they surprised me.”

Kimmel added, “This is not a time for moments of silence, this is a time to be loud and to stay loud and not stop until we fix this. … How does this make sense to anyone? These are our children!”

There was much more, so be sure to watch.

Meanwhile, there was a touch of controversy about Kimmel’s monologue. A Dallas TV station, WFAA, cut off the monologue. On Thursday, however, the station put out a statement saying it was a technical error.

The statement said, “Unfortunately, the automated system that triggers commercials aired the first commercial break in error, interrupting Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue. The same technical error also impacted two commercial breaks later in the program, not just the one interrupting the monologue. WFAA apologizes for this error.”

Kimmel wasn’t the only late-night show to talk about the shooting.

NBC’s Seth Meyers devoted 13 minutes to it during his “A Closer Look” segment. And on CBS, Stephen Colbert said, “Americans have witnessed gun tragedy after gun tragedy. And while it can be argued that there are many reasons, we all know the biggest reason for the tragedy is the gun.”

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