Question of the Day: Why Is a Bad DGU More Newsworthy than a Good One?

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I counted 34 separate stories about the Colorado Springs tragedy (Girl, 14, mistaken for burglar, killed by stepfather in Colorado Springs) and five about the Piedmont, South Carolina homeowner who was wounded but shot an intruder who later died (Homeowner Shoots, Kills Suspect In Attempted Home Invasion In Anderson Co). So why is the bad DGU so much more newsworthy?


  1. avatar DrVino says:

    Because it feeds a narrative.

    1. avatar John A. Smith says:

      It seems we think alike…

    2. avatar Jim R says:

      Bingo. Bad shoots feed into the “all guns are bad, all gun owners are stupid trigger-happy maniacs that will shoot you as soon as look at you” mindset. The more they can demonize us, the more likely they are to pass their disarmament agenda and het the total government control they’re after.

    3. avatar Greg in Allston says:

      In a nutshell Doc. And welcome back Bruce!! I hope we’ll be seeing more of and from you soon. You’ve been greatly missed.

    4. avatar KevinMA says:

      ^^ This.

    5. avatar Accur81 says:


    6. avatar Duke says:

      Got it in one.

  2. avatar John A. Smith says:

    Because a bad shoot is man bites dog.

    And it reinforces already held beliefs; people don’t want news that challenges their beliefs, they want a story that fits their own established narrative.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      The first half of your post seems more likely than the second. Everyone has dogs. Nobody is trying to push a “ban all dogs” movement. But we still get “Dog bites man” stories. Why?

      Because it’s scary. Because we have dogs, and our neighbors have dogs. Because when people hear a story like that coming up on the news, they stick around. And maybe parts of it are tied up with the likes of Jerry Springer and “Dr.” Phil, where people are brought on TV so people can look at them and say “Well, glad I’m not them!”

      The DGU is a tragedy averted. The other story was perhaps the most tragic thing we can imagine. The difference in coverage doesn’t necessarily have to do with the media’s gun control tendencies… it’s just the way “journalism” works today.

      1. avatar Drew says:

        Man bites dog not dog bites man. And there are sadly dog bans in various locations. Because again it’s not the dipshit or out right criminal owners fault but the gun/dogs fault 🙁

        1. avatar Cliff H says:

          And don’t you think that people would take better control of their dogs if they new the potential of the person being bitten to shoot the son of a bitch? Constitutional Carry!

  3. avatar John L. says:

    Bad news sells.

    Bad news about bad people using bad things to do bad things is even, um, better.

    1. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

      I suspect that it’s more insidious than that. Just remember how gleeful so many of these anti’s seem to be to have more blood to ghoulishly dance in, waving the bloody shirt so as to further their twisted political agenda. And it gives the news readers on tv the opportunity to put on their “deeply concerned/I can’t believe this has happened again/so very incredulous” mask.

  4. avatar Sebudei says:

    Good to see you back, Bruce.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Yes, a million times over. Welcome back, Bruce!

    2. avatar CarlosT says:

      You’ve been missed. Looking forward to more from you again.

  5. avatar 505markf says:

    Don’t overthink this. Fourteen year olds being killed by a caretaker by mistake is more “tragic” than some scumbag getting killed on the job. Same reason people react more to an airplane crash involving young, athletic sports teams than a bunch of business men. Tragedy involves a juxtaposition of expectation and reality. Now that I think about it, that probably works the same with humor, or close to it.

    We expect 14 year olds to get scolded by step fathers – not shot. Criminals, not so much; it comes with the territory. No one expects the prom queen to turn up as a meth head. The D student that dropped out in 10th grade, yeah no surprise there.

    Peoples’ reactions – and this includes the media – is not always political or thought-filled. They’re just visceral reactions that make it into print or on video. At least that’s true with incident stories – crimes, car wrecks, natural disasters, etc. Where the politics and preferences come in is editorials, commentary, and general what’s-happening-now stories. Those can reek.

  6. As a newsman with nearly thirty years experience I reckon a good dgu is just as newsworthy to the readers. Journalists are uncomfortable with them because they seem to say it’s ok to defend yourself with a gun. Which of course it is. Whereas a dgu gone wrong or a bad shoot of some kind is just news. They don’t even see the bias.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      And that’s the way it is… To borrow a phrase.

    2. avatar Matt in FL says:

      I disagree. I don’t think a good DGU is just as good from a story perspective, if your goal is to get eyeballs (and that’s always the goal).

      The reaction to the girl’s shooting is near universal, that it’s a shame or a “bad thing.” The reactions to a good DGU on the other hand can run the gamut from “good, that’s what you get” to hand-wringing over the downfall of society to decrying the presence of guns, even those used for good. The dilution of reactions makes the good DGU a far worse story for attracting and keeping attention.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        I think that MSM coverage of good DGUs is so rare that every one is now covered as a curious anachronism, a throwback to our “Wild West”(TM) heritage. That’s why they’re not reported rountinely – the novelty angle.

    3. avatar Greg in Allston says:

      I do think that they see the bias and those “journalists” are totally OK with that. They know exactly what they are doing and are completely unapologetic and unashamed.. It advances the narrative “for the greater good”. Objectivity left the MSM a long time ago.

  7. avatar LJM says:

    It plays on emotion and thus is more of a eye catching sound bite. And I agree with Robert on his assessment. Although as a 12 year old I had what I would classify as a DGU but the police weren’t involved, a shot wasn’t fired and I was scared crapless to tell my parents. Like my DGU and millions of others, no news story to tell. But the two would be robbers/assailants never entered my house due to the A-5 toting 12 year old :).

  8. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Never let a crisis go to waste.
    A bad DGU fits their anti 2-A agenda.
    “See, guns are evil, they murder innocent children”.

    This poor guy has to live with this for the rest of his life.

  9. avatar gk99 says:

    the same reason black-on-white crime is never covered. Media is controlled by the Left.

  10. avatar David B. says:

    A bad DGU is a tragedy, A good DGU is a statistic.
    Tragedies are newsworthy, a statistic is business as usual and nothing new.

  11. avatar the ruester says:

    Bad dgu are the rolled up newspaper they try to hit our nose with for being gun guys.

  12. avatar Wyfaggro says:

    The bad DGU is noteworthy because it happens much less often. The more unusual something is, the more newsworthy.

  13. avatar Excedrine says:

    “One death is a tragedy. One million is a statistic.”Joseph Stalin.

    “If it bleeds, it leads.”Marshall McLuhan.

    I believe these quotes compliment each other nicely, and perfectly underscore the mentality in the decidedly Left-wing mainstream media.

    YMMV. JM2CW.

  14. avatar GatorGrabber says:

    It’s called “confirmation bias”. Google that term and see what you think.

  15. avatar NWGlocker says:

    Drama brings more readers and viewers, especially if it feeds anti-gun biases.

    Yes, any clean DGU should be newsworthy but as you noticed, RF, mainstream media gives these items a collective shoulder shrug and says, “And?”

    To be honest I wasn’t aware of either of these shootings until now. Another reason to keep reading TTAG.

    1. avatar NWGlocker says:

      Bruce, not RF. I need more coffee

  16. avatar Ralph says:

    A “good” DGU is good news, and good news is relegated to the back pages of newspapers and blogs about kittens and puppies. A “bad” DGU has everything that the MSM thrives on: blood, tragedy, politics and sometimes race.

    The MSM is like a mushroom. It grows best on sh1t.

  17. avatar JPD says:

    This was a waste of blog space. We have known the answer to that question since, like, forever.

    Was this a test to see how many of us are on the computer?

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      It was an intelligence test. You, like, flunked.

      1. avatar JPD says:

        No Ralph, quite the opposite. It takes about .01 seconds to figure out what the press would concentrate on. Like I said, something to fill a slow Saturday.

        As a side note, We keep beating the same drum, over and over. Even my anti-gun acquaintances recognize the press is biased.

        1. avatar Accur81 says:

          Dang, that’s harsh. Anyone who *forced* you to read this article or write comments about it owes you an apology.

        2. avatar JPD says:

          Accur81: You are right!! I was “forced”, by the headline to read this article. Those TTAG types sure are sneaky. Actually posting an article that is repetitious.

          As we all know, the “legitimate” news sources would “never” be guilty of such VILE treachery to their readers.

        3. avatar Ralph says:

          @JPD, due to your last comment, I rest my case.

  18. avatar Adub says:

    I think it’s just because the death of the girl is a tragedy, although to be honest, I find it fishy. Stepfather shot an “intruder” who he couldn’t see? I though you were supposed to turn on all the lights when you suspect a burglary?

    1. avatar Bill B says:

      Especially in light of this training and experience – the Colorado story does not make sense. That being said, I agree the media coverage is because it fits their ideological agenda.

  19. Not hard to understand.

    The one story is far more interesting than the other.

  20. avatar Tominator says:

    All deaths at the hands of another are tragic.Nothing good happens by violence. A possibly necessity may be the exception. This is not one one of those.

  21. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    A bad DGU is news because the media are whores.

  22. avatar Ken says:

    Really? You have to ask this question?

  23. avatar Michael White says:

    The Colorado shooting wasn’t simply a “bad DGU.” The tragedy of a man accidentally killing his stepdaughter has an emotional dimension that doesn’t exist in the other story. When this sort of nightmare becomes reality, it merits examination.

    I say that after looking at the story three perspectives. As a professional journalist and gun owner, I am well aware of the biases that exist in the media. So I want to be clear that I have no interest in attacking fellow gun owners or in undermining their rights. However, as a father with a teen in the home, I would like to know what went wrong in Colorado Springs. I’m pretty sure that others — even the staunchest Second Amendment advocates — want to know as well.

    I admire the courage of the gentleman who defended his home, but I personally see more urgency in the story of the teen’s death

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