Did you see Obama’s speech after the Oregon shooting? And did you hear what he asked journalists to do? What a clever move. Exactly the right advocacy at the right moment.
The outcome was obvious: the amount of gun deaths in the US compared to terrorism deaths draws a very convincing graphic. A graphic that was all on every frontpage and on every news program in the US and beyond soon after Obama’s plea. Hell, even UN chief Ban Ki-moon stepped in to the put pressure: do something about this!
We have yet to see where this goes. Will it really break the defense of G.O.P members of Congress and the N.R.A? I’m not convinced yet. But what it does prove to me, is that a journalist revealing something is not enough.
Cause this image that you see everywhere now, is not new. Just do a search on “gun deaths vs terrorism deaths” on Google and set the date limited up till 2014. If you’re in for some old fashioned searching, use the “-Obama” to exclude his quotes on the issue. Zero results? Ich don’t think so. And not only radical media outlets have reported these facts side to side. CNN, The Guardian, The Washington Post are just three players I caught reporting these figures way before Oregon.
The story has been brought to the public numerous times. Without any results. Apparently a story needs the right framing, the right campaign, the right advocacy from someone with influence in order to kickstart change, in order to prevent events from happening again. Because the watchdog journalism is a puppy that doesn’t scare anyone anymore. For me this is an example showing that we need a new wave of advocacy journalism that goes beyond revealing and is prepared to follow up on it.
So now what? What if nothing happens? If the N.R.A. and Congress remain calm and ignore the cry for change? Houston is suing Volkswagen for polluting the air. Anyone ready to go after Congress members and hold them responsible personally for these killings?