Murder coverage distorted

There’s been an awful lot of fracas in the media lately about the murdering of tourists in Miami.

It is an international scandal that foreign tourists are risking their very lives to spend a little time on the Atlantic shores of the good old U.S., but murder is not a new news item for Miami.

Blacks and Latinos are killed in and around Miami in massive proportions. Quite frankly, many city dwellers are fed up with the hype and justifiably so.

Chances are you’re not going to read about the death of any average urban dweller from Miami over the Associated Press wire, yet we’re inundated with every single tourist slaying.

Are the deaths of foreign tourists more significant than those of local murder victims? Shouldn’t we be even more worried about the deaths of our own citizens?

It’s reminiscent of last year’s coverage of the Dantrel Davis tragedy. The young boy was murdered by a sniper on his way to school and the Chicago media originally buried the story as just another housing kid shot.

The error was quickly recognized but admitted to be an all too common phenomena for media giants. The Chicago Tribune even fired up a “Killing Our Children” series, significantly detailing the lives of every child murdered in the Chicago area. At least it’s one step in the right direction.

However, placing too much blame on the media is shortsighted. The dilemma is that lack of coverage can be interpreted as insensitive while overcoverage tends to harden society to the grim facts on homicide in this country.

Obviously, each local media organization can’t cover every item, but by judging what they do cover, the public is left to make assumptions about what they do choose to cover.

It seems the angle of the tourist slaying stories is that America is letting the rest of the world in on its dirty little secret in a very personal way.

The rest of the world is shocked by our murder rates, especially now that they’re hitting home. There was a massive outcry from Japan after two Japanese exchange students were killed.

The real responsibility lies with U.S. legislators who are backed into a corner by the American public, who’ve had enough of the bloodshed, and massive pressure from gun lobbyists, who smell the fear and are beefing up.