Headlines described the man behind the biggest mass shooting in modern U.S. history as a country music fan.
As the nation reels from the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, some people have noticed a double standard in how the media has portrayed 64-year-old Stephen Paddock versus other mass shooters.
Paddock shot into a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas on Sunday, killing at least 59 people and injuring more than 500 before authorities found him dead in his hotel room with a cache of weapons.
As the news broke, major outlets across the country wrote headlines that humanized Paddock, pointing out that he was a country music fan, for example. They also portrayed his violent act as an anomaly, labeling him a “lone wolf” who “doesn’t fit [the] mass shooter profile” rather than a part of a systemic problem of violence by white men in this country.
“There’s a clear difference in the way this kind of incident is treated and the way it would be treated if it were actually associated with Islam or Muslims,” Ibrahim Hooper, spokesperson at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told HuffPost. “It would be instantly called an act of domestic or even international terrorism; it wouldn’t be individualized, but collectivized to the entire Muslim community or faith of Islam.”
Here are some ways white shooters are privileged in the media:
White killers are often humanized.
Less than 12 hours after Paddock shot and killed dozens of people, a headline from The Washington Post focused on the fact that he “liked to gamble, listened to country music, lived quiet retired life.”
People on Twitter were quick to point out that nonwhite and Muslim perpetrators of violence don’t often get such humanizing profiles after the fact.
Posted by The NON-Conformist