A new study from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reports that 57% of Americans are following the latest news out of Newtown Connecticut closely. That is a significantly higher percentage of people than the shooting in Aurora, Colorado earlier this year, and the shooting in Tucson Arizona last year. It was a lower percentage of people than those following the 1999 school shooting in Columbine, however.
The pew study also suggests that where a majority of respondents felt that the Colorado and Arizona shootings were the result of a lone, troubled individual, a plurality of respondents say that the Connecticut shooting reflects broader problems in society.
As we noted earlier, media outlets, and TV news outlets in particular, have the power to sway public opinion in these matters, whether they intend to or not.