Quick to Listen/Episode 14 | 39 min
How Social Media Fails Our Orlando Grief
Image: AP

Forty-nine people lost their lives after a gunman opened fire in an Orlando nightclub early Sunday morning. In the days since the shooting, mainstream and social media responses have discussed and analyzed hatred and violence against LGBT communities, the merits of gun control, anti-Muslim sentiments, whether prayer is an appropriate response to tragedies, and if Christians who hold to traditional views on marriage are complicit in anti-LGBT violence. Are the array of opinions and facts available on our phones or television screens actually helping us?

“We use media when we can’t be present,” says Andy Crouch, CT’s executive editor.

While this type of technology makes many things possible—including this very podcast and the article you are currently reading—it has several major disadvantages, Crouch says.

“The one thing that media are really bad at doing is the one thing needed in the immediate wake of any trauma for any person or community: the silence that’s possible when you’re present in the body but impossible to communicate through media,” he says.

Crouch joined Morgan and Katelyn on Quick to Listen this week to discuss social media’s specific disruption to reacting to tragedies, whether our cynicism over prayer is merited, and the dangers of responding to horror as an ideologue.

  • (7:23) Andy, you have previously lamented the way media broadcasting runs on constant information and analysis without leaving room for mourning in silence or prayer. Did we see media work in a similar way in covering the Orlando shooting?
  • (18:31) At what point after tragedy do we start offering up analysis or policy recommendations?
  • (27:30) After tragedy, are there ways prayer inhibits us from action?

Additional Reading

Crouch:“On ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ After the San Bernardino Shooting”

Crouch: “Media and the Massacre”

Jamelle Bouie’s piece for Slate

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How Social Media Fails Our Orlando Grief