How the American Press reported the Kansas Shooting

The shooting incident has been conveyed in a stoic voice, bearing no hint of emotion, empathy, or apathy, for that matter.

Written by Radhika Iyengar | New Delhi | Updated: February 28, 2017 3:29 pm
Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the Indian who was killed in the shooting at the bar in Kansas Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the Indian who was killed in the shooting at the bar in Kansas

Hate crimes in America have seen an unprecedented spike since President Donald Trump came to power. It reflects the bigoted, anti immigrant identity America is slowly adopting. The news regarding the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a 32-year-old engineer along with his friend, Alok Madasani who suffered injuries at a bar in Kansas when a man shot at them, recently made headlines.

WATCH | White House Condemns Kansas Shooting That Killed An Indian Engineer

Here’s a look at how the media in the United States reported the incident. It’s interesting to note that the overall tone adopted by both legacy and digital media concerning the murder of Kuchibhotla, has been straightforward in nature. The shooting incident has been conveyed in a stoic voice, bearing no hint of emotion, empathy, or apathy, for that matter. Nor is there a suggestion or an implication that the incident could be reflective of a hate crime, although speculation is offered. The reports emerging from the United States are to-the-point, stating the basic details of when the shooting occurred, the man who shot Kuchibhotla (Adam Purinton, 51), the man who died, the man who was injured (Madasani, 32) and the man who is now considered a local hero (Ian Grillot, 24).

The New York Times – Focused on India and US relationship (http://nyti.ms/2lgmpZd)

The country’s leading daily, angled its report on how India condemned the shooting. Apart from describing the incident and providing a detailed profile of the shooter, Adam Purinton, NYT piece reviewed whether it would affect the relationship between India and the United States in any way. It spoke to a foreign policy fellow, Dhruva Jaishankar, who noted that such an incident would be looked at in isolation and “would not affect the relationship between America and India.” Although he did mention that if the attacks specially targeted at Indians continued, the situation would be different.

The piece also hinted at the ominous rise of hate crimes in America in the Trumpian era and spoke about Trump pulling the strings on the H1-B program. The piece observed, “Thousands of Indian technology workers have come to the United States under the H1-B program, which grants skilled foreign workers temporary visas. But the potential tightening of that program has raised concerns in India, where many young people dream of studying or working in the United States.”

The report also sharply pointed out that Trump had made no efforts to condemn or support the attack. “Mr. Trump has made no public comments about the attack,” the NYT piece read.

The Washington Post – Featured an important, telling appeal from Alok Madasani’s father
(http://wapo.st/2mgewHJ)

The Washington Post provided a comparatively more detailed picture of the incident, while including a statement from Madasani’s father, Jaganmohan Reddy who implored Indian parents not to send their children to the United States. Reddy told Hindustan Times,“The situation seems to be pretty bad after Trump took over as the US president. I appeal to all the parents in India not to send their children to the United States in the present circumstances.”

The anti-immigrant tension has been growing stronger in the United States, but Reddy’s plea functions as a telling statement — that the situation in America is worryingly becoming palpable.

Kansas’ Local Paper – Most detailed and informative report
(http://bit.ly/2kQvSu4)

Unlike national publications, Kansas city’s local paper called The Kansas City Star provided detailed information not only regarding the murder, but also Kuchibhotla’s profile – what he did professionally, details relating to his wife and family, the two GoFundMe campaigns, as well as the statements published by Kuchibhotla’s employer company, Garmin. Kuchibhotla worked as an engineer at Garmin’s Aviation Systems Engineering team. The story also detailed how the community in Kansas was grieving after Kuchibhotla’s death.

Of all the news reports, The Kansas City Star’s news report appeared to be the most detailed, fleshed-out and relevant.

Other publications, including CNN, The Huffington Post and Al Jazeera, stuck to the traditional Who-What-When-Where reporting format, merely detailing the incident. They also included quotes from Grillot, as well as India’s External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj who tweeted that she was shocked with the incident. She also tweeted that she would ensure that Kuchibhotla’s body was brought back to India so that his family could perform his last rights. The press also reported that two GoFundMe campaigns were launched, one that was geared to raise funds for Kuchibhotla’s family, while the other was aimed at funding Grillot’s medical expenses.

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