Readers Complain Over Daily Telegraph’s Insensitive Story on Victim of VT Shooting
By: Warner Todd Huston
The foreign press are having a field day wagging their collective finger at Americans, scolding us over our 2nd Amendment rights. It seems they are all of a mind to take our guns away from us… not that they have any say in the matter. But, at least one paper, the Daily Telegraph of Australia, got themselves in trouble with Americans over their insensitive choice of wording in a story about one of the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings.
In the piece “Was gunman crazed over Emily?”, the headline as well as the first lines and of the article is so insensitive and sensationalistic that readers deluged the paper with complaints. So many complaints that they had to start a whole new story to address the slight.
Along with a large photo of this innocent young woman, the first line of the piece read…
THIS is the face of the girl who may have sparked the worst school shooting in US history.
The girl who “may have sparked the worst shooting”? As if this was all her fault because she is a beautiful young woman?
Readers were not amused as the comments amply show.
Mel of Ottawa, Canada wrote, “It surprises me that anyone thinks this headline was not intentional”
â€œdmumsie” of Houston, Texas was even more incensed. “And shame on you.. for the abusive and insensitive crazed over her headline..? Excuse me! Many people break up everyday or say I change my mind about us in a relationship without shooting the other and no one would make this man do this unless he was crazed period. You could say he was a stalker and terrorizer and have truth. I can’t have you so no one can? Nor others live because I am sure they are all to blame for my loss and madness?! Yes indeed.”
Shane of Blacksburg, Virginia points out the Telegraph’s shameful sensationalism. “I’m a student at VT. I think it is shameful to use an innocent victim as a headline. This guys cowardly way of dealing with his problems cant be blamed on our nations gun laws or a girl who may or may not have known him. Anyone who thinks we should blame ourselves, should think about the 32 Hokies who lost their lives b/c some punk couldnt deal with his problems.”
This one is from Jessica Jacobs of Rappahannock, VA. “How can you post this news article *THIS is the face of the girl who may have sparked the worst school shooting in US history.) How do you think the her parents feel about this. You didnt know Emily, or do you know what happened. News want a “step” up in the news world , that they are willing to say anything. Put yourself in her parents and sister’s shoes. Maybe you need to rethink your statements.”
After over 400 comments, many of them as incensed as above, the Telegraph had to respond. Unfortunately, they make matters worse by being belligerent instead of understanding and apologetic.
How did innocent and thorough coverage of a tragic massacre become misinterpreted as heartless reporting? When the pack starts running, it runs wild.
So, grieving Americans are now a “pack, running wild”, like some kind of insentient animal?
The Aussies then claim we Americans are just lashing out at “anything” in grief and they were unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end.
Have we reported this with accuracy? Is there some cultural confusion between the US and Australia? Or is the hurt and devastation of this event so monumental that people need to vent their anger and confusion at something, anything.
If this is any example of how the Australian Press deals with culpability, maybe they are too much like so many American MSM outlets who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions preferring instead to blame everyone else?
In any case, they have heard the complaints loud and clear.