While Wednesday’s dramatic police standoff remains of great interest to residents in and around Philadelphia, it appears the story is already fading from the national consciousness.
While every national network led its Thursday morning newscast with reports on the standoff in which six Philadelphia police officers were shot, each telecast quickly pivoted away to devote the bulk of coverage to other national topics, such as fears about a looming recession and new details in the death of Jeffrey Epstein.
“You take a look at the scene behind me right now, police still gathering evidence. It is quiet, it is calm, but hours ago neighbors described it here as a war zone,” CBS correspondent Jericka Duncan, previously a reporter for 6ABC, reported on CBS This Morning.
Duncan’s report was similar to reports on Good Morning America and the Today show, which both sent correspondents to Philadelphia but quickly shifted away from the story during their morning newscasts.
President Donald Trump, who is staying at his Bedminster, N.J., golf course, weighed in on the shooting Thursday, writing on Twitter that the suspected gunman “should never have been allowed to be on the streets." Trump also wrote that the shooting suspect “looked like he was having a good time after his capture,” but it was not clear what the president was referring to.
» CATCHING UP: What you should know about the Philly police shooting
Jeremy Littau, an associate professor of journalism at Lehigh University, called the move away from robust national coverage of the incident a “weakness of a nationalized media system.”
“The internet has basically made all local news national, so we end up with these moments of basically 15 minutes of fame, then we move on to the next issue,” Littau said. “If somebody had died, unfortunately, I think that the public’s attention span would be a little longer at the national level.”
On Twitter, the hashtag #PhillyShooting was trending across the United States most of Wednesday night, but by Thursday morning it was gone. Google searches about the shooting had also faded, according to Google Trends.
The media coverage Thursday morning was in stark contrast to the attention the standoff had been receiving Wednesday evening, where most cable news networks and nearly every network affiliate in Philadelphia broke away from normal prime-time programming to cover the developing situation live.
NBC10 didn’t return to its regular prime-time programming until 9:45 p.m., while CBS 3 and FOX29 ended their live coverage around 9 p.m. 6ABC mostly stuck with its normal programming, but broke in at the top of the hour for updates.
“When will it stop?” Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris said on CNN Wednesday as the situation was unfolding, promoting a policy that would involve more enforcement around gun dealers.
During an interview on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show on Wednesday night, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said police officers are often among the biggest advocates for the strict gun-control laws he has advocated for on the campaign trail.
“Often the voices you hear calling for the kind of gun safety that I have put forward in my very bold plan are police officers wanting it to happen, because their lives are getting increasingly dangerous," Booker said. “Unfortunately, in our cities across America, we see officers in situations of danger they should not be in and would not be in if we were a nation that had sensible gun laws.”
Other Democratic presidential candidates, such as former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, weighed in on Twitter.