Thursday, April 19, 2007

Network Hijacked by Terrorist

My friend Stephen just sent a powerful letter to NBC and MSNBC.

It's hard to beat, so, with his permission, I'm simply "cut-and-pasting" it, verbatim.

By airing the photos, videotapes and so-called manifesto provided by Monday’s killer at Virginia Tech, NBC has made one of the most grievously irresponsible decisions of a news agency in recent memory.

The question of consideration for the victims and their families, while significant, is faced by every journalist whose job it is to report a tragedy. It is not new, and it will continue to be debated in good faith in newsrooms.

What is unique to this instance is that NBC, while making noises about helping us all see into the mind of a disturbed person, has completely missed the paradigm.

This man was a terrorist. An Al-Qaida of one, determined to use violence to win the attention he believed was his due. The murders he committed were but one part of his plan. The rest was faithfully carried out by NBC.

By airing the materials, NBC has issued a standing invitation to other wannabe mass murderers and notoriety seekers to follow in the footsteps of the immortal Cho. Kill a lot of people, mail your press kit to the media, and the media will give you exactly what you were looking for.

Terrorists will always win attention: notoriety is built into the act itself. It is one thing to report a story. It is quite another to be a terrorist tool.

Materials such as these should be inspected by mental health professionals and other specialists, not by the designated audience of terrorists.

NBC should have been aware that a useful public discussion – in particular, of the importance of attention and intervention when disturbed people show signs of trouble – was already under way, with a focus on events preceding Monday’s atrocities. On Monday, the terrorist took over.

I see no reason to continue giving my attention to NBC News.

14 comments:

playtah said...

Wow. What a great letter. I can't say much. It's just a really good letter.

Babybull40 said...

Great letter.. You think they will care enough the next time not to air such atrocities... They ought to be ashamed of themselves.. Acting just as irresponsible as the VT big wigs..

ANON1 said...

Wrong. It is their job to report the news, not censor it.

Parents need to put down the remote controls and cell phones and PAY ATTENTION TO THEIR KIDS. Maybe if is this madman's mommy and daddy better care of him he would not have done this.

Paging Hillary Clinton and Obama, your order is up. Feast away vultures on this tasty anti-NRA dish.

Beakerz said...

Couldn't agree more.

I mean, why tell everyone that the 'record' is 32. Some douchebag is gonna go out and try to 'out do' these people.

This society just scares the shit outta me.

Btw, welcome to DCBlogs.

Ridiculous drama you stepped into. Until this asswipe Rob is stopped or something, who knows. welcome anyway

evil-e said...

Just another reason I consider the American "news" media to be a purveyor of evil....ratings and revenue baby!

Aunty Christ said...

Let's see ... the choice, as I see it, is either to broadcast the final words of a killer as he lets his motivations be known (i.e., he is an insane crazyperson), or we hire a bunch of jackasses to editorialize the situation, inserting their own agendas as they go: Was it Marilyn Manson who made him do it, or video games? Oh, let's just outlaw guns and the internet. That ought to solve everything.

Look, I guess he's gotten his 15 minutes whether or not NBC aired the video. The American public shouldn't have to be babysat by the network news, and more importantly, why do we want to?

I'm sure NBC and MSNBC is kicking itself over the loss of your friend's attention. As long as we're making proclamations that no one cares about, I hereby announce that I will no longer be watching American Idol, until Sanjaya is rightfully brought back. Thank you.

Oh, and: Let us hope that all future killing spree-ists have learned their lesson and will just post directly to You Tube. Save us all a lot of dialog.

Moonbeam said...

Good letter. Thank you for the post, David and Stephen.

The other networks including CNN were pretty quick to flood the air time with the "package info", not just NBC. What I have noticed is happening, partially due to public outcry I am sure, is these neworks are cutting out or down on the visuals, as of this morning. CNN says it will only show visuals 10% of the time. Therefore, they are trying to please everyone, I guess.

It's sad but I dont think we are ever gonna stop certain people wanting to be lookeyloos. However, as Stephen's letter says, if the news media does not provide the venue then there is nuttin to lookeyloo at.

Another thing to think about....are these photos much different than those available for young people to see while playing the more violent types of video games, watching YouTube, etc. Seems we are on, and have been on, a slippery slope as far as violence is concerned, and how some glorify it.

I find it very hard to think of these precious lives being cut short by such a "terrorist". Once I heard the facts of who, what and where committed this horrific act, I began to focus on the families and how they would carry on. I began to focus on the people that lost their lives and try to imagine what their lives had been like. What goal in life they were striving for, before life was taken away from them. I wish the Networks would do the same. Hopefully, they well.

Playtah said...

It's also interesting that 33 people in Virginia die, it's all over the news notstop.

The fact that 190+ people died in Iraq this week? Barely mentioned.

Churlita said...

Wow. What a thoughtful letter.

I'm glad he took the time to write and send it.

ANON1 said...

Domestic news will always get a greater amount of attention. News in Iraq is mentioned EVERY DAY on all of the major channels.

Check your facts people before spewing liberal bullsh$t.

billamonster said...

The letter is wrong.

A dude kills 32 people in the worst spree murder ever. The whole world is wondering what the f*%# is going on. Suddenly, a videotape materializes with the guy talking about himself and his anticipated crime. I'm sorry, but that IS news.

And it is also ratings. Big ratings. "Idol" ratings, baby. That is not NBC's fault, but it was their motivation in releasing it. They have lots of "news" in their hands every day that they do not report because it does not command ratings.

But that does not make NBC a "terrorist tool." As the author noted, there is notoriety in the deed, and police and news organizations would have been digging through his closets, journals and school essays looking for this stuff anyway, and it would have been reported. In either case, all of it was after the fact.

The author's premise is false. On the one hand, he seems to think that watching Cho's repressed homosexual antics on TV might induce an otherwise healthy person to commit mass murder, a conclusion that strikes me as absurd. Similarly, he seems to think that a firm decision by NBC not to air the tape might dissuade some other Cho out there with murder in his heart. Alas, that seems equally futile.

Moonbeam said...

On other thing I forgot to mention and is in my thoughts.

Nobody is forced to watch channels with news reporting...all ya gotta do is put your finger on the remote button, push and click. There are over 100 channels to watch that are free of news reporting of any kind....travel, animals, theatre, food, arts, exercise, movies, book review, new technology, etc, etc.

Thats what I do when I have had enough of any news reporting....but I still know its there if I want an update. I am free to watch if I want to, I am free not to watch....my choice.

Gotta be careful about taking away or censoring our freedoms.

David in DC said...

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses.

Accompanying Monkeyboy in DC on an overnight field trip leaves extremely limited opportunity for me to answer you individually, as I often do. So please accept this collective TY.

(I'm also know I'm overdue with a fortnightly post of pictures of Ted the Hamster. I'll get 'em up by Sunday night.)

Billamonster said...

You said it, Moonbeam.

Long live the Dog Whisperer!