Put healing ahead of political rivalry

Last week, a devastating shooting in an Orlando bar left 50 people dead, including the shooter. Fifty-three more were injured. 

Days later, the nation continues to reel from the event — described to be the worst mass shooting in U.S. history — and the largest attack since 9/11. 

Immediately after — before the community surrounding the area, the state of Florida and the nation could catch their breath — an onslaught of news stories appeared, discussing the ethnicity of the shooter.

Yes, situations like this are inherently political. Mass shootings today have political repercussions. But the media’s portrayal of the event is steeped in a long tradition of targeting — and depicting — immigrants as harmful.

Immediately following the travesty, Donald Trump tweeted that he “appreciated the congrats” on being right about radical Islamic terrorism. Subsequently, news anchors and television show pundits began the routine dialogue about immigration, terrorism and ISIS. 

What they didn’t talk about was how to help Orlando. Before we could help the people afflicted by the event, the media immediately began denigrating people outside of our country and wrongly conflated the religion of Islam with acts of political extremism.

Instead of brash profiling, there are real, ongoing initiatives that we should all discuss. Immediately following the shooting, blood donation centers opened. We should be reporting on that. 

Today, the OneOrlando fund was started by the Mayor of Orlando to provide help to the families affected by the shooting. We should be reporting on that. 

Politicians and news organizations have the power to positively impact communities. The way in which breaking news is reported has real impacts on diverse communities.