Cover-up: Media hide key fact in school shooting

When Adam Lanza stormed into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012, opening fire on schoolchildren and sending kindergartners scrambling into closets for protection, American news outlets immediately began asking the desperate question, “Why?”

Thoroughly profiling the perpetrator has become the first response of the American media in every shocking crime from Sandy Hook to the Boston Marathon bombing and more.

But almost one year to the date after the Sandy Hook shooting, on Dec. 13, 2013, at the Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., another school shooter opened fire, and this time, the gunman’s background was all too quickly swept under the rug.

Karl Pierson

Most notoriously, the Denver Post discovered in its profiling of shooter Karl Halverson Pierson that fellow students described the 18-year-old gunman as “a very opinionated socialist.” Yet by the next day, the Post’s editors had scrubbed the word “socialist” from the article, replacing it with merely “very opinionated.”

In fact, the first words the article uses to describe Pierson are “outspoken about politics, was a gifted debater and might have been bullied for his beliefs … a dedicated, bright student from a religious family that attends Bible study meetings.”

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