Media Mashup: September 1, 2015

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The execution-style murder of a suburban Houston police officer and the killing of two television journalists received a great deal of coverage, but the media couldn’t seem to come to grips that deeply troubled black men were the problem, not guns.

The federal protection against providing medical information makes it difficult to reject many gun applicants from obtaining weapons. That’s one of the unintended consequences of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.” No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.


As with other highly publicized shooting incidents in recent years, most voters see last week’s murder of two on-air journalists as a mental health issue rather than a need for more gun control.

Twenty-nine percent (29%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe stricter gun control laws would have prevented the shooting deaths of the TV journalists in Virginia by a disgruntled ex-colleague, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Twice as many (60%) disagree and say stricter gun control would not have prevented the incident. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure.


Kanye West says he will run for president in 2020 during an acceptance speech for the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.
Although I am not a supporter of Donald Trump for President, I find it interesting that media outlets such as The Huffington Post can ignore the businessman’s campaign while reporting on West’s ridiculous announcement.
Here is what the HuffPo said about Trump’s campaign:
“After watching and listening to Donald Trump since he announced his candidacy for president, we have decided we won’t report on Trump’s campaign as part of The Huffington Post’s political coverage. Instead, we will cover his campaign as part of our Entertainment section. Our reason is simple: Trump’s campaign is a sideshow. We won’t take the bait. If you are interested in what The Donald has to say, you’ll find it next to our stories on the Kardashians and The Bachelorette.”
It’s interesting that a story about West’s announcement appeared in the political section of the HuffPo’s website, including a photo of wife Kim Kardashian. Hypocritical? I think so.
I hope West runs, so he will realize that success in the music and clothing industries doesn’t mean you can run a small town–let alone the country.
Christopher Harper is a longtime journalist, who reported in Europe and the Middle East. He teaches media law and international journalism. Send suggestions and tips to

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