What he said

This makes sense and is valuable information:

The soft-spoken academic interrupted the conversation about the nuances of gun control to point out that random mass shootings are typically suicides augmented with multiple murders as a way of dramatizing the shooter’s pain and self-hatred. Copious amounts of research show that media publicity of suicides leads to copy-cat crimes. “It seems to me,” the professor politely interjected, “that the more we report that this sort of assault weapon was used, that this person had this kind of bulletproof vest, that this person entered the school this way—that gives other people who are depressed and suicidal and want to take a whole bunch of people with them the knowledge on how to pull it off.” The media, Bell said, should self-censor their sensational, detailed coverage of mass shootings.

But as Barrett (yes, Paul Barrett from Business Week, Gun Blogger Rendezvous 2011, and Boomershoot 2012) points out:

That’s not going to happen—for the same reason that the inevitable commissions and hearings on violence in films and video games will conclude that there’s little for government to do about bloodshed in entertainment. The First Amendment protects a robust right to expression. A parallel exists with the Second Amendment, another emblem of freedom, forged in the 18th century yet still hallowed generations later. These uniquely American rights come with tremendous responsibilities—and haunting costs.

Self-censorship isn’t going to be effective in a free market. The temptation to increase readers/viewers/listeners with “uncensored” coverage will result in fuller, more sensational coverage by a few who will gain from it. There competition will either pay a heavy price in the market place or end the policy of self-censorship.

Censorship will last only if there are direct costs such as fines or prison terms associated with such coverage.

There are haunting costs no matter which direction you go.


6 thoughts on “What he said

  1. Don’t totally agree with that.

    When’s the last time you heard a sports announcer discuss the streaker running across the field?

    Here’s a thought – everyone loves dirty laundry. Find every last embarrassing detail about these shitheads’ lives and air it. Make it known that if you do something like this, the news will flail itself trying to find anyone to talk about how small the shooter’s penis was, how they were lousy in bed, a bore at parties, smelled bad, etc.

    Shame the fuckers. Shame them relentlessly.

    • Shame can be a very effective tool against people that have a soul. These guys, not so much. Nevertheless, it’s worth a try. Public humiliation is not bad either. Dig up every bit of dirt you can find on the SOBs and spread it far and wide. Maybe a couple of them will do the honorable thing.

  2. Your remark about self-censorship is not entirely true. These same “journalists” are very assiduous in their scrubbing of stories on teen suicide so as to not encourage copycats. It is the desire to disarm the hoi polloi that trumps the desire to not have children murdered in their classrooms that limits the expression of what decency the “journalists” have.

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