Friday, February 15, 2008

Covering a School Shooting

Does media coverage of campus shootings make them more popular among the deranged? Is the desire to go out in a guaranteed blaze of glory push those who want the attention even further. I explored the web for some opinions on it....

Quark Soup seems to think the media has fetishized the school shooting.

This discussion board serves as a living record of people's immediate reactions to the shooting ranging from emotional outbursts to policy thoughts.

The J Junkie
, launched the bull's eye critique at CNN.

What strikes me about the coverage is a google search for "northern illinois shooting" registered 349,000 hits and the event is less than 35 hours old. The sheer magnitude of the coverage, the descriptions of the events are titillating-the pump action rifle, the counts of shotgun shells and bullet casings, the accounts of those that heard it nearby. The scramble for video footage. For a few days at least this shooting will be THE big thing. In an age where there is coverage, and then coverage of coverage, and then blogs about both, news for better or worse becomes viral public discussion. An incredibly ruthless and deranged act of violence gets to ripple over the water for much longer than even in the days of Columbine. This blog is no exception as we will now show up somewhere in the search engines under Northern Illinois Shooting. The media specifically and society at large have a responsibility to cover these events more responsibly. Media coverage spurs heavy reaction from the left and right, and then all coverage disappears as we move on to the next event.

Does that burst and disapearance lead to more polarization? In the case of a school shooting immediately the left says that if there were more psychological evaluations and tighter gun laws this wouldn't happen, then the right immediately responds that if everyone were free to carry a gun and defend the themselves people would think twice before they start shooting. Then the coverage goes away the last thing people thinking about or listening to, not a voice of moderation thinking about a compromise that might make us safer without infringing too deeply upon the 2nd amendment, but only of the extreme points of view on the subject.

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