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Newtown School Shooting Changes Tone of TV Broadcasts

Newtown School Shooting Changes Tone of TV Broadcasts


Airdate: 12/17/2012

It was an unprecedented moment on Saturday Night Live. Instead of the usual opening sketch, a children's chorus sang "Silent Night" in honor of the victims of the school shooting. The lyrics took on special meaning.

It was like that all across the TV landscape.

Whoopi Goldberg said on The View , "The entire country is beyond heartbroken."

Jay Leno said he struggled with how to address the nation's deep sense of loss, saying, "It breaks my heart to do a show under these circumstances. We gave a lot of thought to cancelling the show tonight, but in the end we decided to do one in the hopes of maybe offering you a brief distraction and maybe putting a smile on your face before you go to bed."

News anchors covering the tragedy are overcome by emotion. 

Anderson Cooper choked up, reporting, "We'll remember the face of seven-year-old Chase Kowalski."

ABC's Amy Robach reported, "We were looking at baby pictures of Jessica with the family and I said, 'When was she born?' and they told me May 10, 2006, and that is the day I gave birth to my daughter."

Kelly Ripa fought back tears as she and Michael Strahan made the rare move of starting their show with a live report from Newtown.

Ripa said to the correspondent, "I know that you're a mother and so I can see and feel in your reporting, the devastation that we are all feeling."

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, a former Republican Congressman, is rethinking his longtime support of gun rights.

Scarborough said on Morning Joe, "Politicians can no longer be allowed to defend the status quo. They must instead be forced to defend our children."

Another anchor, CNN's Don Lemon made a similar call, saying, "We need to get guns, and bullets and automatic weapons off the streets. They should only be available to police officers and to hunt Al Qaeda and the Taliban and not to hunt elementary school children."

The Miami Heat basketball team held a moment of silence before their game. Fittingly, some of the players, including Lebron James, were joined by their children. Lebron also wrote "Newtown, Connecticut" on his hightop sneakers.

All NFL games also began with tributes to the victims.

Sunday night's big season finale of Homeland on Showtime came with a special message: "In light of the tragedy that has occurred in Connecticut, the following program contains images that may be disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised."

A nation, grappling with unspeakable tragedy.


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