My latest column deals with many of the myopic columns and news accounts published in the 12 days since the theater shooting at "The Dark Knight Rises" in Colorado.

Just to flesh out the point, for anyone who'd care to follow the paper (and TV) trail:

The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan — who sounds painfully out of touch every time she ventures near pop culture — wrote a column blaming a sick and "poisonous" media environment, which included comparing Jack Nicholson's "funny" Joker to Heath Ledger's. I was sort of surprised she didn't go all the way and bring up Cesar Romero.

The Los Angeles Times' Patrick Goldstein fingered Warner Bros.' marketing campaign for the movie, citing, among other things, the fact his wife objected to it and found it "profoundly disturbing."

The New York Times' usually reliable Michael Cieply focused on Warner Bros.' historic association with violent films. Dirty Harry, meet Batman.

New York critic Anthony Lane proposed suspending midnight screenings, grasping for something — anything — that could be done in the event's immediate aftermath.

Bill Moyers went after the National Rifle Assn., and Bill O'Reilly retaliated by going after Moyers, before he sparred with GOP congressman Jason Chaffetz in a manner that seemed to buttress Moyers' point.

Finally, there were the inevitable blaring headlines saying people were too scared to go to theaters, nicely rebutted by Richard Corliss of Time, who details some of the offenders.

Finally, here's the earlier Variety article about Fox changing the name of "Neighborhood Watch" to "The Watch" in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting.

In school, this would be the equivalent of showing your work. And for anyone who has lived through more than one story of this type, sifting through the coverage has only added to what's been a long and depressing couple of weeks.

 

 

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