Perverts killed LGBT massacre Media headlines reflect polarised opinion on Orlando shooting
news Monday, June 13, 2016 - 14:19

'Perverts killed, LGBT massacre': Media headlines reflect polarised opinion on Orlando shooting

Guns, gay people, and hate coalesced in Orlando when 29-year-old Omar Mateen killed 50 people and injured dozens more.

Across the world, even as there was deep sadness at the loss of lives, there were also voices that indicate the world is far from restraining their malice during times of tragedy.

Turkish newspaper Yeni Akit has come in for sharp criticism for the headline of a news report: Death toll rises to 50 in bar where perverted homosexuals go!. The Daily Mail reported that social media users pointed out that the exclamatory mark suggested celebration rather than condemnation of the Orlando attack.

The Daily Mail also reported that Yeni Akit is known to be close to Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It has in the past carried hate speech against gays, Jews and Christians.

Even as investigators look for answers to the workings of the mind of the dead attacker, different groups of people view the shooting as an attack on themselves or others o r have assigned motivations to Mateen.

In a piece titled Omar Mateen Committed LGBT Mass Murder. We Must Confront That., Tim Teeman of The Daily Beast argued that while it did appear to be a terror attack, the victims – LGBT people – must not be forgotten. In the debate about terror and the alleged involvement of ISIS, the attack on the LGBT community must not be lost.

Naturally, because Mateen is a Muslim, the terror angle is receiving a lot of attention with Muslims being blamed for Mateen’s actions. Some Muslims have questioned to this stereotyping, and said sought to dispel the notion that there are no queer Muslims. Here’s a piece on The Guardian, Queer Muslims exist – and we are in mourning too.

In the backdrop of the next presidential election and long-standing criticism of the gun lobby, the media have sought to examine the tragedy from these perspectives too.

Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald carried this headline: Orlando shooting: For Republicans, it's easier to ban Muslims than guns. The piece pointed out that in the US, the gun lobby led by the National Rifle Association blocked a bill that would make it difficult for people on the US government’s terror watch list to buy guns. So far, media have reported that Mateen’s weapon was legally purchased and that he was being watched by the FBI.

The American media too are analyzing reactions by various shades of opinion. In the US, there appear to be just two, The Washington Post, points out in this piece: After Orlando, the right points to radical Islam, while the left points to guns, hate

Foregrounding politicians’ reactions to the tragedy, Karen Tumulty wrote a piece titled The new norm: When tragedy hits, Americans stand divided for the The Washington Post. She says something that perhaps calls for large scale reflection and a call on what action we should take: “It has always been true that the toughest issues are those that pit our values against our fears. And in this tragedy, as with so many before it, both parties are certain to seek political leverage.”