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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Letter of the Day

posted by on April 19 at 13:32 PM

Who’s Worse? The Shooter or the Media?

Shame on the fucking media! NPR too! The media’s response to this shooting [at Virginia Tech] has been so sensationalistic, so sickeningly reactionary and so violence obsessed it boarders on fetishism.

What kind of sick people flock to the scene of such a brutal crime, and immediately begin interviewing children (18 and 19-year-olds) who are in a state of shock, and broadcast their images across the world? Within hours, they have swarmed upon this college community with a total and complete disregard for the well being of the people. It’s sick!

What is the media’s excuse? They look as though they’re foaming at the mouth! The reporters get to flex their acting muscles, putting on their condescending and phony gestures of disgust and solemn remorse. All the while, they fail to hide the gleam of excitement and anticipation in their eyes. They report on the tiniest minutiae as though they were unlocking the secrets to the universe. Are they providing the news? Hell, no! They’re creating a story to sell to us, in the form of a reality show; one that everyone will watch, full of drama, mystery and violence. Their purpose is singular: get people to watch so they can make more money. Then the whole event becomes a platform for the media to push the political agenda’s of their corporate sponsors.

And of course, there is everything that is not talked about, which could fill the pages of several books. Although public buildings in Iraq are being bombed daily it is reported on as a mere sideline. “Stocks fell 50 points today, continuing to feed rumors of a recession. In Iraq, 27 women and children were killed today when a car bomb exploded just outside a Baghdad hospital. (Momentary pause) In local news, Gov. Christine Gregoire discusses the potential for public funding of a new Sonics Stadium….”

Now, I’m waiting for the impending rise in hate crimes towards anyone of Asian descent. This will be reported with that familiar tone of shock, and the media will exclaim that it is non-sense such violent behavior could occur in this day and age. All the while, the elephant sits in the middle of the room getting fatter and fatter as it gorges itself on a super-sized helping of ignorance and a side of corporate propaganda. If this had happened in any other part of the world (England excluded, maybe…actually, probably not) it would be just another sidebar, given the same airtime as would be given news of a movie star’s admittance to rehab, or a government official being charged for tax evasion. All of which is given less airtime then either sports or the weather. So, why can’t I turn the goddamn news off? Its like watching a car wreck. I’m compelled to do it! I’m caught in the media tractor beam. Help!

RSS icon Comments

Posted by ho' know | April 19, 2007 1:48 PM

18 and 19 year olds aren't children. Quit being such a cry baby.

Posted by Sussio | April 19, 2007 2:13 PM

This is major news, I fail to see how it's irresponsible to cover it as if it was a really tragic and emotional event... which it IS. I've been listening to NPR, and the coverage has been fine.

My journalism class looked at the front page coverage aggregation on Poynter's website, and I have only two complaints: the word "Massacre" should be reserved for Darfur or Iraq, and that picture of the bleeding/dead/injured(?) student being carried should not be on front pages.

Posted by lauren | April 19, 2007 2:54 PM

How do you know they're 18 or 19 year olds?

Some of my PIs have 14 year old daughters who are full UW students.


And, yes, it's the media's fault. That includes The Stranger, as you well know.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 19, 2007 3:52 PM

Want to see a really stupid take on it?,2933,266860,00.html

Posted by JMS | April 19, 2007 4:34 PM


ohhhh... it was SATAN!!! Of course. How silly of me not to have realized this. Thank you Fox News for your fair and balanced reporting!

Posted by SDA in SEA | April 19, 2007 4:55 PM

i think the reporting has been fine for the most part. this guy is overreacting. sure, we're heading to the point of excess now, but on the flip side, people would be mad if the media treated this too lightly instead. so there's a fine line.

none of the students, parents, teachers, etc are forced to talk with the media. they're doing it because, for whatever reason, they want to talk. and for the most part, the exchanges between these people and the anchors and reporters have been cordial and understanding, not detached or sensational.

this crap about the media using this to promote the agenda of their sponsors is ridiculous. this is a legitimate, major story in which many people are interested. for the suits at the networks, it's a ratings game. for the reporters, it's a chance to show their skills. for the producers, it's content to fill their airtime. and if people watch it, which they are (look at nightly news' ratings last night), you can bet this formula will continue during future big events. it's overly simplistic, and sadly far too popular, to boil this all down to some political/money-grubbing conspiracy. each audience has its own role.

Posted by mirror | April 19, 2007 5:14 PM

Thank you for your comments--this is a sick, sick country. The douches on this blog are part of the problem.

Posted by DKJ | April 19, 2007 6:02 PM

I understand that the shooting is a big news event, and certainly everyone who chooses to speak to a reporter is making their own decision, but I just got back from my school’s candlelight vigil (all Virginia colleges were having candlelight vigils tonight), and there is something deeply intrusive about people with video cameras recording your grief. My friends at Tech who went to the memorial on Tuesday said that the media was everywhere, trying to capture images of crying students. Sure, media outlets have a responsibility to report the news, but some students have been violated enough.

Posted by megan w | April 19, 2007 7:18 PM

Who’s Worse? The Shooter or the Media?
I'm sorry, but how is the answer to this question not immediately obvious? To the best of my knowledge, the media hasn't killed or injured anyone yet. Drop the hyperbole already.

Posted by Ursula | April 20, 2007 9:24 AM

Time to release my inner misanthrope:

Causes of Death of Teens (Age 15-19)

VaTech shooting: 32

Drowning: 320 per year

Auto Accidents: 5522 per year

Suicide: 1513 per year

Poisoning: 486 per year (!)

Heart Disease: 405 per year

HIV: 38 per year

This is only in the news because it is reality TV. Not that this should surprise anyone who rubbernecks at traffic accidents. We're all a bunch of sickos.

Posted by F | April 20, 2007 11:05 AM

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