From a morning Washington Post chat with columnist Marc Fisher:
Washington, D.C.: Posting early … I know you will disagree, but for me NBC’s decision to show the images glorifies and sensationalizes violence and sets the parameters for the next mass killing. (After all, he cited Columbine.) There actually is a way to report on the senseless violence at VTU without glorifying it. So far, no one has.
Marc Fisher: Does the Cho video glorify and sensationalize violence? Hard to see how anyone could argue otherwise. Does the video potentially encourage others to go ahead with similar attacks? That’s conceivable too.
So how do I manage to support NBC’s decision to air the video? Because journalists do not have the right to hide material that is so clearly essential to a full understanding of a major public issue. Journalists have both a right and a responsibility to display something like this in an appropriate fashion–at the right time of day and with the right excerpting so as to minimize the number of children likely to see the broadcast. And NBC should–and did–edit out parts that included profanity and other especially disturbing bits. But 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.
Categories: American Culture