Right now the New York Times has two different articles up:
- Killer’s Mother Was a Gun Enthusiast, Friends Say, with the lede being: “Friends and neighbors said Nancy Lanza, her son Adam’s first victim Friday, was generous but also high-strung.”
- A Gunman, Recalled as Intelligent and Shy, Who Left Few Footprints in Life
Or, maybe the NYT should have just combined their effort like Canada’s The Globe and Mail: “Alleged school shooter smart but lonely; slain mother fond of guns: media reports”
NBC has this: Mom of suspected school shooter — first to die — was avid gun enthusiast, friend says, and the Guardian this: Adam Lanza: the quiet, friendless boy whom no one knew.
I’m so very nervous that this woman — this victim — is going to get blamed SO HARD for both her own murder and the massacre that happened in that elementary school.
As Kristin Rawls wrote me, “I love how the media does whatever it can to humanize white male perpetrators. Ugh…” Yes.
Headlines are not stories and many of these articles do paint a more full picture of Nancy Lanza if you read far enough into them. But there is a reason news outlets choose the headlines they do and front load their stories in specific ways. There are certain narratives that people want to read, story lines they expect to see AND most people never read past a headline and rarely all the way to the end of a piece.
Bad mothering and victim blaming (especially blaming women in domestic violence cases) are two favorites tropes in the media. Here they can bring both together. I fear they will continue to do so.
There are exceptions like this AP piece: “Aunt in Crystal Lake: Lanza’s mother was good parent, kind-hearted.” This was the only one I could find.