Within hours of the Virginia Tech shooting the British media were running pieces about Gun Control legislation (or the lack of it) in the States. Why? An American in London told me she couldn’t understand why UK journalists thought that this was particularly relevant. She also queried the taste and factual logic of an analysis of this well-trod path while the world was still working out exactly what had happended. I think she’s right. But is it part of a more general knee-jerk bias against America within the British press? There are some interesting voices such as BritainandAmerica.com who think this is the case. I believe that there is, at least, a persistent misunderstanding that
springs from cultural and political biases among the metropolitan media elite. In this case there just isn’t a story around gun control and Virginia Tech. No-one in America is talking in those terms. That is an interesting part of the back-story but it is not the most relevant part. As Simon Jenkins has pointed out, this is a complex story that has a lot to say about one sad freakish man who was too easily able to get hold of a gun. It has a lot to say about America’s resiliance and it’s ability to forge community out of adversity and individualism. It’s a shame that our journalists – even the ones based in the States – are unable to reflect something of that, instead of feeding back our own prejudices.