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To be clear, I have no problem with how the Isla Vista shootings have led to a discussion of misogynist hate groups and violence against women. That's an important conversation to have. What I'm criticizing is the folly of obsessing over details of a shooter's life and broadcasting his every utterance in the name of “understanding” what happened. Studies show these events are a kind of social contagion exacerbated by certain kinds of news coverage. Austria faced an analogous situation with a spate of subway suicides; a campaign urged less dramatic and personalized coverage, and after Austrian media took this advice subway suicides declined by 80%. (See this PDF from the CDC and other medical groups for details.)

Many progressives bristle at the thought of holding any information back; they associate it with censorship, priggish schoolmarmism, and McCarthyism. But our current methods of reporting on these tragedies do sweep something under the rug: the media context for these events. The news doesn't just passively reflect reality, and sometimes less really is more. Good journalism does not require publishing shooters' pictures nor their manifestos, and if news outlets do, they should acknowledge that they are quite possibly contributing to more deaths in the name of keeping the public “informed.”

(More below the fold)

The point I am making is not new. Garry Trudeau made much the same argument back in 1977 (below I reprint the first of six Doonesbury strips on this topic). Nobody listened then and nothing has changed.

Follow Jen on Twitter. Or get a signed print of Jen's cartoon.

Originally posted to Comics on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 06:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well, knowing his mom didnt give him the first (11+ / 0-)

    piece of cake at a birthday party when he was nine, and he was still bitter about that a dozen years later, sure made a lot of difference for my understanding of this latest event.

  •  Ideally The Coverage Should Be Mockery (18+ / 0-)

    I recall a Dean Ing story "Very Proper Charlies" about a media consensus to start portraying terrorists as contemptible pathetic figures in order to undercut their ability to terrorize and propagandize. The same principle could work here.

    Of course, that would require a media with a sense of social responsibility, which is rather hard to believe even in a science fiction story.

    On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

    by stevemb on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:09:48 AM PDT

  •  Meanwhile, some joker killed a teen and a cop in (7+ / 0-)

    Norfolk, VA, and the very first comment I read blamed it all on the LIBERAL JUDGE who let the perp walk. I guess the shooter was blameless and probably wasn't even there.

  •  the folly of obsessing over details of a shooter's (10+ / 0-)

    life and broadcasting his every utterance is capitalism.

    The Mainstream Media is a for-profit venture and violence really sells ad space.

    Legal means "good".
    [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

    by xxdr zombiexx on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:13:05 AM PDT

    •  I agree. The media makes BIG MONEY off of (5+ / 0-)

      these shootings.  People watch more t.v., maybe even buy more newspapers. All those earnest plasticene t.v. broadcasters make me long for a pre-botox era of real reporting.

      The media circus is part of the recurrent crisis.

      It is all hog-wash.  The issue is that we are a country absolutely awash in guns and with all the guns out there anyone who is off-balance can kill a lot of people.

      It is very simple.

      People who advocate gun safety along with mass ownership of semi-automatics want to "have their cake and eat it to".

  •  In order to get more buy-in the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides, stevemb

    Conversation  needs to be changed to "Gun Safety" instead of "Gun Regulation"..

    Also Start Hammering the NRA to do more for "Gun Safety" than just promoting the 2nd Amendment... Shame them into giving free safety lessons at Schools, Parks, Shooting Ranges, etc.

    The majority of the public is in favor of expanded background checks...

    When my children were young, I sold all my weapons just to insure that they didn't get their hands on them, a decision I regret today.  However, I didn't feel competent   to take them both to a range or hunting at the same time, and I couldn't pick one over the other....

    U.S. Navy '64-'85 | The man who knows and knows he knows not is a wise man.. - The ink of scholars is worth more than the blood of martyrs.

    by OpherGopher on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:25:25 AM PDT

    •  The NRA (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stevemb

      OFFERS those free gun safety lessons to any who will allow them to be presented.  Might ask all the gun haters WHY they refuse to allow one of the few things that has been shown to help prevent gun violence and accidents from being presented in the public, or private, schools.

  •  i assume they're all familiar with the "copycat" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides, SGA

    effect. that being the case, they've decided that ratings/sales require them to "personalize" their coverage, providing every nitty-gritty detail about the alleged perpetrator of these events. if they don't, they figure someone else will (and they're probably correct), and they'll lose profits, ratings, viewership/readership as a result.

    this isn't anything new, really, American media has been doing this sort of thing since the james gang was robbing banks.

  •  My question is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides
    To be clear, I have no problem with how the Isla Vista shootings have led to a discussion of misogynist hate groups and violence against women.
    How do we do that without looking at his manifesto and his videos?  

    We only understand that he was motivated by misogyny because he told us.  Gatekeeping news media would, quite clearly, downplay that, and tell us that he killed for no reason because of meaningless mental illness.  The discussion only exists because his words were published.

  •  if reporting causes copycats... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mikey, occupystephanie, Pamelia HR

    ... for example if reporting shooters and bombers brings more of them out of the woodwork, or if reporting subway suicides triggers more subway suicides....

    ... Then how the flying f--- can anyone argue that a culture of mass-media saturation in every possible form of violence, in movies, TV, and music and video games, doesn't do likewise?

    "Oh, but that's fiction, and the news is fact!"

    Do you think that makes any difference to the disturbed minds who can be shaken loose by the emotions on display?

    Do you think everyone has the capacity to distinguish between a fictional story and their real life circumstances?

    This really happened:

    I was closely involved with a band that had a pretty wide audience.  One day after a show, a kid came up and told me that a certain new song they played, was really meaningful to him.  Guess what?  The words he thought he heard, didn't even exist: the vocalist was using a kind of nonverbal vocal improvisation to work out the lyrics.  The lyrics wouldn't be finished until we went into the studio to do the album.  

    I told the kid that the words he heard came from his own heart and the inspiration he felt was a sign of his own creative talent waiting to be practiced and exercised.  That really moved him.

    What that demonstrates is that emotional communication has very little to do with literal truths.  There are literal truths, and there are emotional truths.  Emotional truths sometimes contradict literal truths.  Someone who is inspired by a song, a film, a performance on TV or elsewhere, is inspired by it regardless of whether it's factual or fictional or mythic or pure fantasy.  

    The same case obtains for someone who is inspired to do something destructive, as for someone who is inspired to do something creative.

    The emotions are the message.

    Whether it's news, film, music, TV, or video games.

    So if we're going to open a dialog about what the news should be morally obligated to refrain from showing, we should open that dialogue across the board, for all forms of media that depict graphic violence.

    Our culture is drowning in violence.  It's like the water to the fish: so pervasive as to become almost invisible except when something stirs up the mud at the bottom and the view is briefly obscured.  

    Enough was enough long ago.  Enough was enough many dead kids ago.  Many suicides ago.  Many rapes ago.  Many common street murders ago.  Enough is enough.

    We can use the media to inspire creativity, to inspire love, to inspire compassion, to inspire humor and delight, or to inspire murder and rape and hatred.  The choice is up to each and every one of us.  

    We got the future back. Uh-oh.

    by G2geek on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:32:52 AM PDT

    •  That said (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stevemb, thanatokephaloides

      If our culture is more submerged in violence than ever before, what explains the fact that our culture is less violent now than pretty much any time in American history?

      Murder rates are lower than they were in 1960, and half what they were in 1980.  

      •  Norbert Elias had a theory about how (4+ / 0-)

        less violence in a society is accompanied by increased fantasies about violence in the culture.

        I have never found that convincing.  Nor do I find convincing the arguments that overall our culture is less violent than ever before.

        Look at how we are devastating the planet on which we live.  
        Look at how we are driving massive amounts of living species to extinction.
        Look at the "organized" violence and destructive capacity of our military.
        Look at the militarization of our police, so that SWAT teams are used at the blink of an eye.
        Look at how school children are handcuffed and carted off to prison for minor infractions of school discipline codes.
        Look at the rate of incarceration in our society and at what happens inside those prisons.
        Look at domestic violence, an epidemic world wide.

        ALL of this is violence.

        •  It definitely is (4+ / 0-)

          And, for the most part, it's improving, with the exception of pollution and resource extraction, which is hard to link to violence in media.

          Our military is not unusually aggressive in 2014, compared to its long history.  The 19th century saw repeated massacres by the US armed forces.   The police that attacked nonviolent protesters during the civil rights movement and hunted escaped slaves never saw "Game of Thrones."  

          Students were once regularly beaten or whipped by their teachers.  The school to prison pipeline is a very serious problem, but it's not a new problem.  

          Domestic violence used to be legal, and publicly encouraged.  

          We are actually making progress on many of these fronts.  

        •  What???? You didn't just say that, did you? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          thanatokephaloides
          Nor do I find convincing the arguments that overall our culture is less violent than ever before.
          Oh, I see, America today is worse that Jim crow era, or even slavery, amiright?

          No, we're more violent today, because the news media loves getting off these "mass" shottings, than say the 80s while kids were always being gunned down in the ghetto, the crack epidemic and such, but even worse than people gathering around their local square to watch hanging for a poor black kid stealing an apple.

          Are you white? Because you sure seem to be doing a hell of a job whaitewashing what you call history, was the past beter that today for society?

          Maybe, if you are a white rich male, blacks weren't considered anything but property backthen, and you think we're more violent NOW?!?!

          You and G2Geek have both very ironic names because you know nothing about history as you'd like to think you do, and G2Geek  resembles nothing like a geek, a geek amongst many things would be in favor in preserving and protecting the 1st amendment, amongst other reasons.

          •  stereotype much? (0+ / 0-)

            "...a geek amongst many things would be in favor in preserving and protecting the 1st amendment."  Sorry to disappoint you, but I think for myself.

            As for ignorance of Jim Crow:  See also my comments in the diary about the hanging-effigy of President Obama yesterday.  Or believe whatever you like.

            We got the future back. Uh-oh.

            by G2geek on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 03:12:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry, I can out-geek you any day of the week (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              thanatokephaloides

              And what exactly gives you the right to use the descriptor "geek", maybe you are a sports geek? Because You certainly are not into the things me or most geeks are into, and certain wouldn't be hanging at Comic-con, which is coming up.

              Words mean something, and you can't use a word even about yourself, if its not accurate.

              As for ignorance of Jim Crow:  See also my comments in the diary about the hanging-effigy of President Obama yesterday.  Or believe whatever you like.
              And an event that happened recently has to do with my calling out the logic fail in your points how?
            •  You're Losing Me Here (2+ / 0-)
              "...a geek amongst many things would be in favor in preserving and protecting the 1st amendment."  Sorry to disappoint you, but I think for myself.
              "I don't accept your premise that we must defend the freedom to think for yourself because I think for myself."

              My brain hurts.

              As for ignorance of Jim Crow:  See also my comments in the diary about the hanging-effigy of President Obama yesterday.
              OK, so you're not ignorant of Jim Crow. Are you standing behind the claim that modern society is "more violent" than those days? If so, how do you square that circle?

              On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

              by stevemb on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:07:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Good catch. I read that sentence too fast. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                thanatokephaloides, stevemb

                Got too caught up on thinking what on earth he even meant by "geek", that it didn't dawn on me that that is a self contradictory statement, the 1st amendment is the very core essence that allows you to think for yourself as opposed to the government thinking for you like state-run media like Russia, I'm not really sure G2Geeek fully understands what the 1st amendment and freedom of expression is, I'm not sure he understands he's exercising the 1st amendment right now why telling us how much he hates it.

                My mind explode by all the contradictions!!!!

                Does not compute! Does not compute!

      •  murder rates in the 1950s and... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        raspberryberet, Pamelia HR

        ...1961-64 were lower.  

        But murder in the USA is still substantially higher than in Europe, large parts of Asia, and even much of the Middle East.  

        And aggravated assault, robbery, and forcible rape are all presently about four times as high as in 1960.

        We could try bringing back public executions and apply them to all violent crimes.

        We could try taking away all the guns.

        We could have a "one strike you're in for life" policy, or at least "you're in until after you're too old to reproduce."

        Is anyone up for any of those?

        Toning down the media through relentless social pressure, requires no legislation and has zero risk of imprisoning or executing innocent persons.

        Really: anyone who thinks it's all about "speech" is deluding themselves.  It's all about money.  It's all about what the media corporations, whose owners live safely behind gates and walls, think they can sell to the public at a profit.  

        Make it unprofitable and it will change.

        Make it less profitable than something else, and it will change.  

        Then we'll see what happens to the levels of murder, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery.  

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:29:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  All true (2+ / 0-)

          But does it matter?  Europe has just as much violent media as we do.  So does Japan.  Why does it cause violence here but not there?

          And many crimes may be up since 1960 (in part due to better policing and reporting of crimes that would have gone unnoticed by authorities), but they're all down since 1980, just as media violence started to tick up.

          And while I completely agree that companies promote violent products because it sells, I strongly disagree that the authentically creative never touch the stuff.  

        •  some thoughts (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          thanatokephaloides
           murder rates in the 1950s and...

          ...1961-64 were lower.

          And your source on this is... ????

          And whether true or not, violence was certainly up from today and an everyday occurance for anyone not white and male during the 50s and 60s during the tulmoutous civil rights movement.

          See anyone got blasted by firehose while sitting at a counter of a food establisment lately?

          Seen any dogs sicked on anyone lately?

          OMG, its sooooooo easy and fun poking holes into your delusions.

          And you aren't making yourself look any better while ignoring facts and history.

          Whitewashing... its not just for the "right-wing" anymore.

      •  Media Violence Is Nothing New (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thanatokephaloides

        Before video games, it was movies. Before movies, it was comic books. Before comic books, it was pulp novels and magazines....

        On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

        by stevemb on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 09:17:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Some here believe in book banning, but just (3+ / 0-)

          won't admit to come out and say it, because they'd pretty much out them selves at best not being progressive, and at worst actually being a social conservative, I see G2Geek has agreed with another poster I "debated" (more like pwned) the other day who went off on rants against Catcher in the Rye and you know how much he wanted to come out and say he wants to ban "certain" books. Yes, so in the past we, people have actaully have blamed books now for voilence, and well, if we're going down that road, why not let's start with the best known example for people killing in the name of a book, the bible. While i support the 1st amend, if we are now to take the party even more conservative to being the "anti-speech" party, why not start there and ban the bible if you blood thirty censors out there want something to ban, start with that we'll see how far that gets you.

    •  there is another discussion current in which (4+ / 0-)

      a man from Herndon Virginia has been arrested for stealing the monuments to Sandy Hook, CT victims.

      He and his father both deny the killings happened!

      He cannot distinguish reality from right-wing conspiracy propaganda in the slightest.

      •  This has nothing to do with my current arguments (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thanatokephaloides

        with you on media content, but I can't let a little comment get away without hoping there is some clarification, because a lot of times "denying something happened" / "distinguish reality" ... most "holocaust denier" know the holocaust happened, but wish to undermine the story and its importance in history, or collude other people into thinking that. In other words, sometimes people lie, it doesn't mean they can't distinguish reality from fantasy, it may just mean they are bigots and assholes, ie, holocaust deniers, they could deny something happened while still fully knowing it well indeed did.

        I don't know if that's the case here in this situation, but I just have a pet peeve about semantics like that.

    •  My semi-lengthy retourte (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thanatokephaloides
      ... Then how the flying f--- can anyone argue that a culture of mass-media saturation in every possible form of violence, in movies, TV, and music and video games, doesn't do likewise?
      ... Then how the flying f--- can anyone argue that a culture of mass-media saturation in every possible form of violence, in movies, TV, and music and video games, does do likewise?

      Your not actually making an argument here, i hope you know, infact i think they call this something in debating circles, don't know the term offhand, but this is a fallacy of argument, you haven't proven or linked anythignto anything here, just lamented how is couldn't be possible... not an actual argument, and well, argument fail.

      if reporting causes copycats...

      ... for example if reporting shooters and bombers brings more of them out of the woodwork, or if reporting subway suicides triggers more subway suicides....

      Reporting certain news stories could possibly cause copycats because of the celebrity of the assailant, the rise to fame and the desire to also achieve that fame through ill-gotten means, it means, the fact that we are still talking about this case over a week from when it happened and has raised this Rodgers kid to near god-like status with all the media attention and coverage, athat people also maybe seeking such attention may get the idea to do the same thereselfs, to all the emdia coverage I'll agree is feeding into the next shooter, so maybe we should all stop coverage by now, and maybe you should take your position, but yet here you still are.
      "Oh, but that's fiction, and the news is fact!"

      Do you think that makes any difference to the disturbed minds who can be shaken loose by the emotions on display?

      Do you think everyone has the capacity to distinguish between a fictional story and their real life circumstances?

      Um... not all of the "violent content" you lament against are "fiction" you can't write true stories that had violence happen with them without writing those violent scenes themselves, "Roots", "12 years a slave" anyone?

      So, this is even deeper than the shallowness you keep wanting to give this issue, as there are non-fiction, books, films, tv shows, that are infact violent.

      And, also, we don't live our lives beholden to the very slim majority of those who can't distinguish the two, and act out real violence, there is just no way that's feasible.

      Not in a democratic Republic. Maybe a dictatorship.

      What that demonstrates is that emotional communication has very little to do with literal truths.  There are literal truths, and there are emotional truths.  Emotional truths sometimes contradict literal truths.  Someone who is inspired by a song, a film, a performance on TV or elsewhere, is inspired by it regardless of whether it's factual or fictional or mythic or pure fantasy.  

      The same case obtains for someone who is inspired to do something destructive, as for someone who is inspired to do something creative.

      And that is not true for artforms that contain some form of "violent" imageryhow, exactly?

      The fact is, it is true for them as well, and you're not really advancing your argument here, as stated elsewhere, people get invested in said story, care deeply about characters they've grown to love, and feeell and emotional connection to them, and when they die, that emotional connection is that all much more stronger.

      The emotions are the message.
      Aggred, but I don't think you agree with yourself on this, as the reasons I give above.

      Everyone dies, and I see it nothing but silly to suggest noone should ever tell a story where a person, fictional or not dies, whether violent or not. One of HistoryFuture's comments' title read "death&destruction"
      as though death itself is "too negative" to ever be uttered in a story, and I'm saying this as someone who just lost a loved one within weeks ago, I guess some of us have better lookout on death and the cicle of life that others do here, and if you had your why, we couldn't write about a cancer patient dying of cancer, either.

      Which, btw, cancer, and suffering from it, can be very, very violent.

      Whether it's news, film, music, TV, or video games.

      So if we're going to open a dialog about what the news should be morally obligated to refrain from showing, we should open that dialogue across the board, for all forms of media that depict graphic violence.

      In another diary within a day ago, you said the opposite, that you weren't interested in a discussion, and people like me can "stuff it" I believe were your words.
      Our culture is drowning in violence.  It's like the water to the fish: so pervasive as to become almost invisible except when something stirs up the mud at the bottom and the view is briefly obscured.
      What culture? American egocentrism again? The things you stand against are global, and yet the cases you bring as your aides on your side of the argument are American exceptionalism, the violent media you hold in contempt is global.
      Enough was enough long ago.  Enough was enough many dead kids ago.  Many suicides ago.  Many rapes ago.  Many common street murders ago.  Enough is enough.
      And this has to do with your rants against "violent content" how, now?
      We can use the media to inspire creativity, to inspire love, to inspire compassion, to inspire humor and delight, or to inspire murder and rape and hatred.  The choice is up to each and every one of us.
      All that inspiration is achieved even through those dread forms of art with that dreaded "violent content" within them. So, again, you're not advancing the point you're trying to make, and furthermore, why don't you get of your ass and make this great content you wish to see, and I'll be the judge of if its any good or not. What's all these "we" talk, these are your views, so you go about the task of writing some non-violent stories or films, stop ditacting to others to do your work for you.
    •  I Can't Take Your Belief In Voo-Doo Seriously (0+ / 0-)

      I am speaking literally, not hyperbolically. You clearly believe in voo-doo (the magical power whereby manipulation of symbols produces corresponding effects on the real world).

      It was an old story when Frederick Wertham suggested that kids would turn homosexual as they picked up unsavory hints about what went on at stately Wayne Manor and Paradise Island, and it hasn't gotten any fresher in the intervening decades.

      On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

      by stevemb on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 07:14:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Couldn't agree more (7+ / 0-)

    I wonder why we have to listen to the 911 calls after every tragedy. They contain no information we need. I wonder why we have to see the shooter's face on every news broadcast for two weeks to a month after the tragedy.

    When Columbine happened, the wall-to-wall coverage made sense, because a school shooting of that magnitude was a truly extraordinary event -- then. But now, it just serves to elevate the perpetrator to "star" status, even if he's the villain of the piece.

    Wealth doesn't trickle down -- it rises up.

    by elsaf on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:34:06 AM PDT

  •  Ah! But! It's so much more fun just blaming it (2+ / 0-)

    all on the NRA, "guns", and anything and everything else other than the individual's own "reasons" - whatever these may be, or are said/written to have been.  

    Can't have attempts to understand behavior.  Now, can we?  That might mean we would have to begin to analyze all those screeches, screams, and meaningless noises about how OBJECTS are "evil", "bad", "should be confiscated/banned/prohibited/outlawed", et.al., that make up the bulk of today's approach to almost any of our human problems.

    It didn't work, back in the 20th Century, with Prohibition.  But, just keep on keeping on, over and over and over and . . .  again and again and again and . . .  hoping for "better" - or even different - results.  Never mind the simple fact that there is a definition for that kind of thinking.

  •  Call a creep a creep. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hohenzollern, thanatokephaloides

    I have yet to hear one talking head make a derogatory remark about this creep. And to other creeps out there - all I would say  - be brave, count your blessings, and contribute what you are good at and get help in areas where you are lacking.
    We all have failings.

  •  There's a big difference (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sk8eycat, thanatokephaloides

    Between journalism and sensationalism.

    The former becoming very rare.

    "It's never too late to have a happy childhood." - Tom Robbins - Political Compass sez: -8.25, -7.90

    by ARS on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:20:01 AM PDT

  •  So absolutely right on! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides

    Our obsession with the faces and words of these mad men is not healthy.

    For a long time now, I have noticed that Americans revel in "entertainment" which is based on harm or threatened harm to women and children. The well-known and popular genera of revenge movies bear this out.

    Since entertainment and news are so closely tied together in our culture, it is no surprise that media falls upon every detail of these tragedies to boost ratings.

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:35:36 AM PDT

  •  Great piece on the anti-vaccine idiocy too. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hohenzollern, thanatokephaloides

    Global-warming denialists rile me up and get me motivated to do something about it.

    Anti-vax nuts (e.g. my sister) just make me sad and ashamed.

  •  Very impressed by the Daily Show piece (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jen Sorensen, thanatokephaloides

    And I appreciate the writer drawing the obvious parallel to the Son of Sam case, to which this one is eerily similar, except back then there was no YouTube, just Jimmy Breslin.

    Plus the trap all commenters were falling into of taking a psychotic raving as a scripture to be cited and recited as some kind of cultural ur-text, as was done to the tortured psychobabble screeds of the Unabomber.

    The discussion of misogyny as motivator for violence is important, yes.  But it is unwise to hang that political discussion on this one crazy's actions.  It cannot be used to block out what the killer actually did and why (he killed his male roommates because they irritated him) and who his intended other targets were (father and a brother who was socially adept and possibly had some talent, how dare he).  

  •  Today's Media is rediculous (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides

    Not only do they obsess, CNN and the Malaysian jet coverage, they even go as far as to make up stories to be the first to go on the air with it. Even though it may be factually incorrect, Fox. It has become yellow journalism at its worst. SAD.

  •  Notoriety or Competition? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides

    I have seen Big Media gatekeepers, such as David Brooks, tell audiences to stop using the names of the killers because doing so encourages the desire for fame in other killers-in-waiting, as it were. That's an argument that Brooks and others use to suggest that the less said about these killings, the better.  Big Media gatekeepers such as Brooks are tasked with the work of preventing, in their venues, any and all substantive public discussion of violence inspired by violent media product. Why? Because violent media product is extraordinarily lucrative for Big Media corporations.  Violent video games have surpassed motion pictures as profit generators. That's why, less than 48 hours after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, Brooks appeared on Meet the Press and trotted out the Big Media Big Lie to shut down Tom Ridge, who dared to suggest that violent media product all too often plays a role in destabilizing young gun massacre shooters.

    https://www.youtube.com/...

  •  It's really a drug problem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides

    Even the FDA requires warnings on antidepressants. Most if not all of these types of incidents involve antidepressants or a few other drugs that can induce suicide and/or other forms of violence in a small percentage of users. Here's just
    one study:

  •  What these killers want is to be important. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sk8eycat, thanatokephaloides, SGA

    Everyone wants to have other people pay attention to them.  I am sure that everyone who writes dairies on DKos is pleased if they make the Rec List.

    For a few, this desire gets all twisted into pathology.  They are willing to kill and to die to be famous.

    I am convinced that if the names and stories of these people were not all over the media, a lot fewer of these episodes would occur.

    I do not claim to know how to balance this with the legitimate need for people to be informed about what is happening in the world.  But before we try to figure that out, we have to decide if the assertion I have made is correct.  If it is, then we have to figure out some way to deal with that fact.

    "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." Bertrand Russell

    by Thutmose V on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 12:19:56 PM PDT

  •  Unfortunately, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides

    the constant coverage [and subsequent probing for new angles to cover] is the result of 3 things: ratings, ratings and ratings.  It will stop when people stop watching.

    I know I get sick of the incessant voyeurism practiced by our "journalists" and, after the first day or so of coverage of each of these bitter loners I do stop watching.  Actually, it's not to try to end the news' peeping over the fence - - it's because I just get sick of the sight of them.  Furthermore, on a totally personal level, I don't want to give them the attention they crave.

    Sad to say, my disinterest isn't going to be near enough to stop the infotainment industry from playing it to the hilt.

    The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil men - - Plato . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . We must be the change we wish to see in the world - - Mohandas Gandhi

    by twocrows1023 on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 04:45:54 PM PDT

    •  ratings (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SGA
      Unfortunately, the constant coverage [and subsequent probing for new angles to cover] is the result of 3 things: ratings, ratings and ratings.  It will stop when people stop watching.
      English Translation: two weeks after hell freezes over.

      The only way to stop this crap is to cut off the reason the ratings matter: money. When advertisers stop paying cash for this crap we'll see a lot less of it.

      "It's high time (and then some) that we put an end to the exceptionalistic nonsense floating around in our culture and face the fact that either the economy works for all, or it doesn't work AT all." -- Sean McCullough (DailyKos user thanatokephaloides)

      by thanatokephaloides on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:28:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  cash (0+ / 0-)
        When advertisers stop paying cash for this crap we'll see a lot less of it.
        English Translation: SIX weeks after hell freezes over.

        The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil men - - Plato . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . We must be the change we wish to see in the world - - Mohandas Gandhi

        by twocrows1023 on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 11:56:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  We don't name the victims right away out of kind- (0+ / 0-)

    ness to their families.  There's no first amendment issue at all, we have just respected the refusal of law enforcement to release the names until the families have been notified.  

    Those same families deserve to learn about what happened before the killers wild rants/motives/choice of ammo/breakfast cereal are plastered all over the news.  

    The problem is that the media really makes big money off of these murders.  I'm convinced that's why they don't take a page from the sportscasting rule book regarding "fans on the field"  - they turn the cameras away so that they don't produce copycats.  But in that case, a copycat would COST them money, with mass murder, it MAKES them money.    

  •  Point Well Made (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jen Sorensen

    "To be clear, I have no problem with how the Isla Vista shootings have led to a discussion of misogynist hate groups and violence against women. That's an important conversation to have. "

    Unfortunately, it is getting swept under by the very sensationalism that you correctly show leads to more copy cat crimes. It is being dismissed as mental illness alone.

    To be sure, the shooter was mentally ill. That is part of the story but there is so much more to it.

    I am grateful that you get it on both important points.

  •  Corporate Media (0+ / 0-)

    Maximize the shareholder's (or owner's) profits regardless of the effects on society.

  •  yet FOX cannot bring themselves to do the same (0+ / 0-)

    with the las vegas tea party couple who were out to start a revolution.

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