Media fail in reporting on mass murders


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

I want to make two points about the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.

First is the media's insatiable need to be first in reporting (as if there is a prize for being first), even when everything they report is WRONG. Newtown is only the latest example. Misinformation is far worse than no information. New Rule: there ought to be a law against reporters interviewing young children at a crime scene. This ghoulish behavior by reporters was a gross obscenity. Never again!

Second, the media should focus its attention on the victims of crime, not the perpetrator. The media fell all over itself in its rush to be first to report the name of the perpetrator as if he is the star of a reality TV show, and misidentified his innocent brother. Worse, in the case of mass murderers, it is notoriety and publicity that mass murderers seek, so the media is only rewarding the perpetrator for his heinous crime by reporting his name.

As I posted about yesterday, there is a famous study titled “Media and Mass Homicides” by four public health researchers published in 1999 in the Archives of Suicide Research. "The idea that one spree killing might inspire another has given rise to plenty of articles and papers about whether the press should be more conscientious in the way it reports on these events. Giving a murderer too much publicity might be is a bad idea." New Rule: the media should never report the name of the perpetrator, ever. Deny the perpetrator the one thing he most desired.

I hate to say it, but the horrendous media coverage of the tragedy in Newtown, CT has only served to inspire the next mass shooting. The media will never acknowledge its own complicity in these tragedies, and will repeat its horrendous reporting the next time it occurs.