San Bernardino Shooting

Tragedies Can Bring Out the Worst in Reporters and Politicians

Five ways to respond better.


Tragic news events have a "way of bringing out the worst in reporters and politicians," former Reason TV Producer Ted Balaker wrote in 2011, leading to "misconceptions" and lousy policies that "stick around long after the healing has begun."

Click above to watch Balaker's 2011 video, "5 Rules for Coping with Tragedy," which has become increasingly relevant over the years.

NEXT: Restrictions on Adult Alcohol Access Don't Make Us Safer

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  1. 1: report the facts only.

    2: see 1

    3: see 1

    4: see 1

    5: see 1

    1. Instead we get:
      1. Report the wildest claims you can find.
      2. Claim false equivalence with some other recent disaster.
      3. Report statements by politicos waving bloody shirts.
      4. Demonize those who disagree.
      5. Demand the government DO SOMETHING!

      1. Just as police academies attract a certain type of individual, journalism majors do the same.

        1. You mean people like Robby Soave?

          1. I think you know what I mean.

            1. I think somebody needs to recalibrate his sarcasm detector.

              1. Noted:)

        2. Like Mahoney, or Tackleberry, or that guy who made all the funny sound effects with his mouth?

    2. Facts don't inform good legislation. Feelings do.

      1. And if you have the right feelings and the wrong facts - even better.

  2. But they don't understand the facts. After the attack in California I heard reports from media military and LEO 'experts' call the .233 a 'high powered weapon' that takes much training to operate.They also said that they had to have military training to go in and shoot a group of unarmed people.One ex government 'expert' on MSNBC all the .223 cal. rifles 'advanced weapon platforms'.with a need for advance training !!!!!! And one former FBI agent said it looked like a right wing militia! Oh,and the cops need military weapons for this kind of crime.A cap gun looks like a cannon to these idiots.

    1. The Sirius Patriot morning guy is really pushing this "they had paramilitary training" idea. I've never fired a gun in my life, I prefer to kill things with my bare hands, but I can't imagine that an afternoon at a range wouldn't be all the "training" one would need to ambush a bunch of unsuspecting people.

      1. Your PS4 controller doesn't count as "bare hands."

        1. This is the only game controller I have own, but since I don't have television I can't even play it.

          Also I can't believe the price people our asking for these things on ebay, Ithink I bought mine for like 20$ I may have to part with it.

          1. You could buy an old tv at a pawn shop for $20 and play it.

            1. Or you could get a free TV on Craigslist.

              1. Yeah sure, I'm gonna fall for the old "free craigslist T.V." That's how one ends up in a pit, putting lotion in the basket.

                1. You have something better to do?

                  1. good point, especially if there is a TV in the pit and I can bring my Pac-Man game.

              2. Will you fly kites with me. =)

      2. What training does it take to build a pipe bomb that doesn't work and shoot unarmed people at close range?

        What a dumb ass.

        1. Probably less than the toilet training these pants-wetters received, but in their case it availed them nothing.

          1. Yeah, those 14 dead people were just pants shitters. I am sure they wondered "hey Syed seems a bit crazy" and were told by all right thinking people what pants shitters they were.

            I bet they felt really stupid for even thinking a Muslim might be a terrorist right up until the moment the bullet went through their head.

            1. The pants wetters to whom I'm referring are the lefty reporters who are once again preparing to die trying to take this hill.

  3. I'd have been surprised if they weren't. We're on the path to gun confiscation and that was step 1. It's a matter of when not if.

    1. You know, JB, I don't think we are. This is one of those areas where I'm actually very optimistic, for now. Polls show the vast majority of the public don't think gun control will do anything, despite the occasional mass shooting and weeping, hand wringing media and politicians. The trend might change at some point but this incident may actually blow up in the gun grabbers' faces. People are far more concerned with protecting themselves from jihadists coming up over the hill (despite the statistical realities) than they are with taking guns away from law abiding citizens, particularly since such efforts would target them.

      1. I agree. The more this kind of stuff happens the more most people want to own a gun not less. They are never going to get gun confiscation.

      2. The connection to ISIS kills the dems, I think.

        "Yes, we should listen to the president on gun control. He was so right when he called ISIS the JV team 2-3 weeks back!"

        The wife was an immigrant-marriage thing who passed screening processes (which I assume to be different for spouses than refugees, but that is great political ammo in the refugee thing).

        I just think the facts of this case are the LAST thing any Dem will want to discuss - and if it bleeds, it leads (plus one of the shooters being a mother means a TON of news reports meant to appeal to the soccer mom "how could a mother do this?" Types). And yeah mainstream media- but think of all the local news stations and papers that need to fill stuff, and timelines and profiles of the shooters will fill space for a few days more at least

  4. Maybe I'm nit-picking but I don't agree with using the word "tragedy" when "atrocity" would be more appropriate. Tragedy implies that there is no human agency at the heart of it, which is why the term is so often used by animistic liberals who think guns have magic powers.

    1. Bingo. This is not a tragedy. A tragedy is unavoidable or an accident, like when a kid gets cancer or someone gets hit by a bus. This is an atrocity. But saying that might cause someone to ask who is responsible for this tragedy and why they did it and no one wants that. That would be THE RACIST.

    2. Fucking outrage is most appropriate but you're right. Were the husband and wife team a modern day Lord and Lady Macbeth. Are they heroes who were brought down by their hubris, lust or vanity? Sadly, everyone else was a victim.

      1. The only upshot is that it reminds us that our enemies are retarded. They clearly were not talking to those various terrorists oversees to help with whacking his co-workers. They were being groomed for a bigger job, except the dumb mother fucker got into an argument and shot up the Christmas party rather than whatever target they were saving him for.

        I still can't help but laugh that the initial argument was over whether Islam is peaceful. I will show them how peaceful Islam is, I am going to kill all of them.

        1. That was so ridiculous. I guess radical Muslims are beyond parody, no wonder progs empathize with them.

          1. There was a guy on the other thread saying ISIS may have wanted them to murder their coworkers to sow fear. Maybe that is the case. But it doesn't sow fear it just makes everyone hate Muslims and want nothing to do with them.

            Seriously, Reason talks so much shit about how wonderful Islam and Muslims are, they need to go find three or very devout Muslims and hire them. Good luck with that. Most likely nothing will go wrong and if it doesn't, owe well only a few pants shitters will think it is a big deal.

            1. it just makes everyone hate Muslims and want nothing to do with them

              or at least realize that if you get into an argument with one, you should probably be armed

              1. Yeah and just shoot him to be on the safe side.

    3. I don't agree with using the word "tragedy" when "atrocity" would be more appropriate

      Hear, hear. This drives me NUTS.

  5. Come on now, nothing says class like questioning the widow of a murder about whether he was asking for it.


    Journalists are scum. It is just a sleazy occupation for people who are too stupid to major in education.

    1. Oh come one John. Don't you remember CNN asking the relatives of the SoCar shooting if they provoked Dylan Roof by acting like they were equal to white people?

      1. Or saying "we will never know for sure what drove Roof to do this"?

      2. Or that the real danger of the Roof shooting spree is the backlash against white southerners. You just have to treat the media as an ongoing Andy Kraufman like long con. Otherwise, it will drive you nuts it is so transparently stupid and infuriating.

    2. Je, he, like those Charlie Hebdo guys...well, you know, triggering. We need to be more sensitive to others...
      Unless they are:
      1 Rednecks
      2 Polygamists
      3 Mormons
      4 Conservatives
      5 wing nut libertarians (redundant, I know)
      6 part of the Patriarchy
      7 waspy
      8 Jehovah's Witness
      9 any fisherman who doesn't catch and release with a barbless self-tied dry fly pattern using a vintage bamboo rod.

      1. Polygamists are just fine. They even have their own TV show.

    3. "...too stupid to major in education."


    4. Gotta love Facebook comments.

  6. Holy cow is Marion LePen hot.

    1. Fascist chicks are hot, but she does look a little skinny. A lot of foie gras and baguettes will change that.

      1. She looks good to me. She is thin but not too thin. And it is not that fascists chicks are hot, it is that socialist chicks are so burn victim ugly. Who would you rather be associated with, Le Pen or Angela Merkel?

        1. Socialists and fascists are the same thing, particularly in the case of the Le Pen's.

      2. I don't know that she is a fascist. She did come out against gay marriage and that of course is the most important moral and civil rights issue in the history of man. But other than thinking that perhaps allowing France to become a majority Muslim state run by the EU is a bad idea, I am not sure she is a fascist.

        1. According to her Wikipedia page, she's opposed to both gay marriage and the death penalty.

          Perhaps most importantly, she has been critical of the poor treatment of the sport of Rugby League in France.

          1. The Frogs don't like Rugby? I had no idea.

            1. Rugby League - as opposed to Rugby Union. Two sports which differ to about the degree the NFL & CFL differ.

              Actually, the background was interesting/bizarre - I just read about it now. From the Wikipedia page:

              The invasion of France by Germany in May 1940 divided the country into Occupied France in the north and a southern pro-Nazi Vichy France, the latter of which roughly corresponded to the rugby-playing heartlands. The Vichy Government under Philippe P?tain associated rugby league with the pre-war socialist government, the United Kingdom and General Charles de Gaulle. Some of the French Rugby Union's senior administrators took advantage of their close relationship with the new regime to have rugby league outlawed as a "corrupter" of French youth. All funds as well as grounds and equipment belonging to the French Rugby League Federation were confiscated and handed over to rugby union. The figure of assets stripped has been estimated at two million 1940 French francs, none of which was ever returned. In addition, rugby league players were forced to switch to rugby union or other sports or quit sport altogether.

              1. So you play Rugby League if you are a fascist and Rugby Union if you are a communist. Only in France. France has a truly fucked up political culture. It has since the Reformation.

        2. All Le Pens are fascists. It's in the DNA, just like anyone born to Islamic parents are violent West haters because it's part of their DNA.

          1. No. A few people born of Islamic parents decide not to become Muslims and a few people not born of Islamic parents become Muslims.

            If Muslims are so fabulous or at least no better or worse than your typical American, there must be no difference between living in the US and living in a majority Muslim country, right? I mean why would those place be worse than here if the people are exactly the same? Are they run by aliens?

    2. I would... um... vote for her.

  7. Benches clear Texas Baylor game vid on espn

    1. To programs run by assclown coaches. Let me get my surprised face.

  8. Fried pork trimmings and eggs over easy. I'm in gustatory heaven.

    1. Nice. I had bacon, eggs over easy, toast with butter and jelly, and milk and coffee for breakfast. Good stuff.

    2. A nice ribeye cut in half smothered in red wine/garlic/mushroom sauce, an over-medium egg (whites cooked, yolks not), an english muffin with butter and muscadine jelly and fresh sliced tomato salted, peppered and sprinkled with basil.

      - I prepared for my wife and I this morning.

      Fuck the gun grabbing lying cocksuckers. I am going on the back porch to shoot my .45.

      1. So I have a pot of rendered pork fat left over from all the butt I've been preparing. There's a solid layer of fat but also a nice gelatinous stew underneath. Any suggestions?

        1. Good for carnitas, like Playa suggested?

        2. Hmmmm. Pork stock. Sauce Picante.

          Put in 4 chicken leg quarters and about three pounds of cajun sausage (more if you like), sliced. Chop up one large sweet onion, one large bell pepper and toss that in. Season generously with garlic and drop in one beef bouillon cube (this is all the salt you will need). Put in enough water to raise the volume to about 4 quarts. Start on a slow boil.

          In a skillet put in one 6oz can of tomato paste and put over medium heat. Mash it around in the skillet constantly until it begins to darken, the equivalent of stirring. When it gets almost the color of milk chocolate scrape it into your boiling pot.

          Clean out the skillet and put in three tablespoons of vegetable oil and three tablespoons of white flour. Stir constantly over medium-high heat. When it turns dark tan, leather like color quickly remove from heat and put in the boiling pot. If you can find roux for sale, buy it. It is easier and is identical to what you will make.

          All of this takes about 30 minutes.

          Stir the pot well and then let slow boil for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

          Serve over rice and sprinkle with filet (ground sassafras leaves). Look out the window at the cold shitty weather while you eat it.

          1. Superb. Saved to file. Thank you!

        3. Some kind of Korean kimchi soup with various ingredients.

      2. Jelly, another of those words that causes confusion with english speakers of english. At first I just assumed americans were very strange, because they have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It was some time later that I found out that jelly (usa) /= jelly (uk).

  9. Everyone armed. Then whatever causes crazy is time limited.

  10. Politicians profit off the misery of others. Keeping citizens in fear is profitable for the gun lobby. They have paid off the politicians to keep people living in fear. Law enforcement can not and will not prevent terrorist attacks. They only show up after the carnage. They monitor protesters but foreigners from Saudi Arabia they have free reign to kill americans.

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