Friday, April 20, 2007

Virginia Tech shootings and the news media’s job

Should the news media publish or show everything?

A debate has sprung up about whether the U.S. TV channels were right in showing the Virginia Tech shooter an armed Cho Seung-Hui in full form.

Were the channels right?

Those who support airing the videos:

Washington Post’s Marc Fisher, who says,

Journalists do not have the right to hide material that is so clearly essential to a full understanding of a major public issue. ...Especially in a case as emotionally difficult as this one, the public has a right to see key evidence that helps us understand just how detached from reality this guy was, and just what kinds of social ills are reflected in his particular psychosis.
Those who oppose such practices:

CBC News editor-in-chief Tony Burman, who says,

… I think their handling of these tapes was a mistake. As I watched them last night, sickened as I'm sure most viewers were, I imagined what kind of impact this broadcast would have on similarly deranged people. ... I had this awful and sad feeling that there were parents watching these excerpts on NBC who were unaware they will lose their children in some future copycat killing triggered by these broadcasts.

(both links via Romenesco)

Deborah Jones at the Canadian Journalist blog rounds up the situation with the headline, “On giving a killer what he wants."

There is too much media.
To make money and to stand out, these ‘corporation’ would go to any lengths, justifying things with the usual ‘it was our duty’ routine.

Too many channels, too many banalities.
We can make a sound case for the trivializing of the mass media.

If the aim was to go inside the mind of a troubled man, they should have gone ahead, built a documentary, a movie, National Geographic special, expert panel discussions, among other things.

Going inside the mind of a troubled mind – this reminds me of the anchor asking a journalist standing in traffic jam on a crowded, hot and dusty junction in New Delhi, "How do you feel?"

Too many channels, too much redundant behavior.

Cho Seung-Hui was a troubled person who committed meaningless crimes.
Why put more meaning to it than necessary?

Giving attention is giving importance.
That is the media secret.



At 8:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is good that people are encouraging to look at both sides of the picture.

I wonder what you would have advised your readers if Cho Seung Hui's package was sent to Doha instead to be aired by Aljazeera?

What will you suggest to those who pursue the cure of their
paranoic delusions by persecuting the press? To the knee-jerk reaction of the alarmists and those attempt to immitate distressed ostriches in desert sands?

At 3:14 PM , Blogger Pramit Singh said...

It doesn't matter where the package was sent.

What you call alarmism, others might think of it as common sense and decency in a media-plastered world.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home