How the Media Failed to Cover the News; The Wendy Davis Story
It’s been an emotional week for millions of Americans, legal and undocumented, gay and straight, as the political atmosphere in this country has been forever altered. Democrats and Republicans came together, for the most part, to change or move in the right direction regarding the wrongs that have prevented many people from living their lives.
On Tuesday, millions of people followed Democratic Senator Wendy Davis’s triumphant filibuster attempt and eventual success at preventing a restrictive abortion bill in Texas that would force hundreds of clinics to close across the state. The Defense of Marriage Act was voted down and California’s Proposition 8 was left for dead on Wednesday, giving equal rights to LGBT couples across the country and allowing same-sex couples to marry in the state. On Thursday, the immigration reform bill was passed in Senate, taking one step closer towards allowing millions of undocumented immigrants provisional green cards and a clearer path to citizenship.
With all of this groundbreaking news you might figure that the media would be focusing their attention on coverage as an audience took to the internet to get their facts. You might also think that all of this groundbreaking news would be the sole focus of most stories on the internet, in magazines and on broadcast, but it was the complete lack of coverage on one dramatic issue that has really grabbed the headlines.
All major news outlets completely failed to cover Wendy Davis’s filibuster attempt, instead deciding to report on a litany of other, less historic stories instead. Fox, MSNBC and CNN all aired rerun episodes of their anchors talking about issues that were recognizably incomparable, historically speaking.
While commenters veraciously took to Facebook and Twitter to comment and exchange information regarding Davis and the filibuster, news outlets focused their coverage on muffins (that’s right, muffins.) CNN ran a repeated segment of Piers Morgan, Anderson Cooper and Dr. Drew Pinksy talking about the caloric content of blueberry muffins while Davis waged into her tenth hour of ‘filibusting’.
Fox and MSNBC took another, equally astonishing route playing reruns of Greta Van Susteren and Rachel Maddow, respectively.
Interested audiences took to social media tweeting up to nearly 6,000 tweets per minute with the hashtag #StandWithWendy just as her filibuster attempt was deemed in violation for speaking off topic twice and having someone help her adjust her back brace.
While many supported Davis on Twitter, there were just as many who criticized the media for failing to report the news.
“Yet another major fail by cable news nets right now,” wrote Keither Olbermann.
Amy Leigh Strickland wrote, “100k people watching Wendy Davis online, but CNN is covering Paula Deen. This is why the internet is a better news source.”
With all of the criticism it seems as though the news outlets have finally realized their mistake as they flood their sites with backfilled stories in an attempt to now over-cover the event. Profiles, follow-ups, detailed descriptions and features are pouring in and it seems just a little too late. That last ditch attempt to cover the now outdated news makes you wonder where they all were when the event was actually going on.
About Sean FlynnSean Flynn is a recent graduate from City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. His work has appeared in The Buffalo News, Condé Nast Traveler, The New York Times 'Fort Greene Local', The Daily Meal, and FoxNews.com.
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