|Back to Home > Bulletin Board > TVSpy Watercooler > Topic: TV and shootings|
TV and shootings
Posted - 12/15/2012 10:14:12 PM | show profile | flag this post
From a 2003 Roger Ebert review (and it's still true today, IMO):
"Let me tell you a story. The day after Columbine, I was interviewed for the Tom Brokaw news program. The reporter had been assigned a theory and was seeking sound bites to support it. "Wouldn't you say," she asked, "that killings like this are influenced by violent movies?" No, I said, I wouldn't say that. "But what about 'Basketball Diaries'?" she asked. "Doesn't that have a scene of a boy walking into a school with a machine gun?" The obscure 1995 Leonardo Di Caprio movie did indeed have a brief fantasy scene of that nature, I said, but the movie failed at the box office (it grossed only $2.5 million), and it's unlikely the Columbine killers saw it.
The reporter looked disappointed, so I offered her my theory. "Events like this," I said, "if they are influenced by anything, are influenced by news programs like your own. When an unbalanced kid walks into a school and starts shooting, it becomes a major media event. Cable news drops ordinary programming and goes around the clock with it. The story is assigned a logo and a theme song; these two kids were packaged as the Trench Coat Mafia. The message is clear to other disturbed kids around the country: If I shoot up my school, I can be famous. The TV will talk about nothing else but me. Experts will try to figure out what I was thinking. The kids and teachers at school will see they shouldn't have messed with me. I'll go out in a blaze of glory."
In short, I said, events like Columbine are influenced far less by violent movies than by CNN, the NBC Nightly News and all the other news media, who glorify the killers in the guise of "explaining" them. I commended the policy at the Sun-Times, where our editor said the paper would no longer feature school killings on Page 1. The reporter thanked me and turned off the camera. Of course the interview was never used. They found plenty of talking heads to condemn violent movies, and everybody was happy."
Posted - 12/16/2012 12:29:58 AM | show profile | flag this post
Not altogether true
Newtown was on page 1 of the Sun-Times today:
Posted - 12/16/2012 1:13:58 PM | show profile | flag this post
Good to see you zeroed in on the key part of the piece.
Posted - 12/16/2012 3:03:02 PM | show profile | flag this post
As for the rest, then
Should the USA media do what China used to do, and North Korea may still do -- wait several days for all the details to settle, then report it once or twice and move on?
If the news media (and for that matter the nation at large) ignore acts of violence, will they go away?
Did that approach work in Europe in the 1930s?
Posted - 12/16/2012 7:55:05 PM | show profile | flag this post
How is our current system working out?
Just on this story alone, the wrong person was ID'd as the killer.
Every channel and website had a different number for the death toll.
The shooter's mother was first reported as being killed at home.
Then she was killed at the school.
She also started out as a teacher at the school.
Then she was an aide of some kind.
Now she apparently had "no connection" to the school.
So yes, waiting a while to get the facts right seems like a decent idea right now.
Posted - 12/16/2012 8:51:39 PM | show profile | flag this post
They can't wait it's about ratings and a shrinking audience. It's better to be wrong than wait. This is all about saving your $30k a year job in a dying industry.
Posted - 12/17/2012 2:24:30 AM | show profile | flag this post
But it's almost 2013
....and in the age of Facebook and Twitter, waiting for the facts to "settle down" is practically impossible.
Too many ordinary citizens have accounts, can post too many conflicting and contradictory "details," spread them far and wide in cyberspace, then accuse the media of covering up the "truth."
Posted - 12/17/2012 3:12:16 AM | show profile | flag this post
Is TV news really now competing against ordinary citizens with Twitter accounts?
I'll go back to what I wrote earlier:
How's our current system working out?
Posted - 12/17/2012 9:21:45 AM | show profile | flag this post
Leave the little kids alone
Whatever the ultimate casualty count at Sandy Hook Elementary School, every student there Friday was a victim. These kids—10 years old, 5 years old—had been through an experience ghastlier than most adults have ever survived.
Minutes after they made it to safety outside the school, having heard and seen unspeakable things, cable, network and local TV crews were waiting to interview them, live on camera, about things a kid should never have to talk about. Flanked by their parents, boys and girls too young to see an R-rated movie described being hustled to safety as bullets whizzed by them in the halls of their school.
It was arresting. It was heartbreaking. And it was rash, unnecessary and wrong. There is no good journalistic reason to put a child at a mass-murder scene on live TV, permission of the parents or not.
Read more: http://entertainment.time.com/2012/12/14/kids-at-tragedies-turn-off-the-cameras/#ixzz2FJb44FlZ
Posted - 12/17/2012 2:56:46 PM | show profile | flag this post
THANK YOU ROD...
for introducing what has become an all too rare, rational discussion among "Adults" on this board.
It's not surprising that Ebert "didn't make the cut." Holding a mirror up to reveal "The Emperor's Clothing" throws an unwelcome monkey wrench into preconceived packaging.
Self examination and restraint, particularly amid sensationalism and exploitation in the ratings chase has never been a strong suit for the media. Particularly in the aftermath of these "feeding frenzies," self righteous denial runs rampant, contrition is virtually non-existant.
Pandering to the lowest common denominator has been a slippery slope to the cesspool that now passes for "Journalism."
"First Before Facts" has become the new mantra. We are certainly a part of the problem; can we ever regain enough moral footing, clarity of judgement and egotistical humility to even recognize and accept true journalistic responsibilities, and become part of the solution?
Posted - 12/17/2012 3:14:49 PM | show profile | flag this post
"It was arresting. It was heartbreaking. And it was rash, unnecessary and wrong. There is no good journalistic reason to put a child at a mass-murder scene on live TV, permission of the parents or not."
I'm going to post a simple comment on this because I happen to know one of the local NY reporters who did some of those O/C interviews. First off, weren't live, but were turned around and rolled into their standup reports. Second, I felt that at the time and place in the event, they were early on, and adding to the factual narrative of the story as children were explaining the chaos that was going on. I didn't see any interview (tho there might have been one) of a child who witnessed the actual killing, it was mostly descriptions of being protected by their teachers in their classrooms, and in one instance a boy described bullets whizzing by and he was grabbed by a teacher and pulled inside a classroom. The interviewing I saw was done in a gentle and sensitive manner and no effort was made to elicit any horrific details, save for the children describing their own fear.
All this said, I did not see every interview on every outlet, and am basically commenting on the CBS coverage I watched. BTW, I thought that CBS and Pelley did an excellent job with their coverage at the network, and a couple of their local reporters were excellent as well. Some of their local anchors, not so much.
I would agree that any interview of a child who was witness to the actual killing would be wholly inappropriate.
I'd also add that I too was frustrated with the ever changing factual content. It got to the point where if you channel surfed, you could get 5 different accounts on 5 different outlets in 5 minutes. If this was caused by the people releasing the information, or by the horde of reporters, each running to a different source to gather it, is unknown.
Posted - 12/19/2012 2:27:06 AM | show profile | flag this post
Speculation weak all around
Re posted by rodrustrules; interesting theories but the judgement is suspect. The motive "If I shoot up my school, I can be famous" does not fly when the suspect would rather be dead than alive and famous.
Also, "I commended the policy at the Sun-Times, where our editor said the paper would no longer feature school killings on Page 1." Yeah, right...say 60 students killed and the Sun-Times is not going with that for the front page headline?
Spirit of policy a far cry from practice.
@Ted: I agree. The market remains but the biz has changed, for the worse IMO. By the way does your last name start with D and end with an N? Just wondering.
Posted - 12/22/2012 12:36:46 PM | show profile | flag this post
Good piece here on the "formula" for coverage:
Posted - 12/22/2012 5:42:01 PM | show profile | flag this post
The Reality Is...
Jayhawk is right.
In 2003, the date cited for Ebert's comments, there was no Twitter, no Facebook, no YouTube. Whether we like it or not, they are now established and widely used mass media.
And they are "mass" in the sense that the masses use them to communicate. No more is the flow just one way...from us to them. Anyone with an account can put out almost any information for the world to see.
TV News may still be king. But even if we're silent, the information (right and wrong) will get out.
We MUST accept that fact and find ways to be both ethical and of top of stories.
To suggest that we don't cover these stories or delay covering them really doesn't make sense. We're in the business of covering news, not covering it up.
Covering these stories almost in real time is a skill that we have to learn as we go along.
There's no other way.
Posted - 12/22/2012 7:40:24 PM | show profile | flag this post
If all that's true Fred, then why does the public need "media" at all?
Why don't they just get all the info from whoever happens to post whatever on twitter & Facebook? Some of it'll be right, some will be wrong, but who knows? Who cares?
Answer: the public needs (allegedly) professional media people to make sure it's right, to be BETTER than any yahoo on twitter.
And that was sorely lacking during the shooting coverage.
|EDitor in NJ||
Posted - 12/22/2012 7:45:47 PM | show profile | email poster | flag this post
WNBC-TV can't shut up
WNBC-TV can't shut up
On Friday 12/21/12 much of America observed a moment of silence at 9:30 am, the approx. time of the shootings.
Things stopped at the White House, Congress, other schools, state legislatures, even the NY Stock Exchange.
What a moment in history!
Here in the NYC market....ABC decided to let network handle the coverage (not WABC): bells solemnly tolling with pictures of the young victims NO NARRATION.
WCBS-TV local did the same thing.
When I quick switched over to WNBC-TV they decided that the best thing to do was have the anchors talk over the entire thing. They never shut up. They were saying such brilliant things as "This was a real tragedy", "What a sad event". "Teachers showed such bravery".
Are they nuts over there?
That's the same station which cut out President Obama choke-up while making his statement on the tragedy.
SHUT UP ALREADY...sometimes silence is worth a thousand words.
Posted - 12/24/2012 10:21:12 AM | show profile | flag this post
Please heed your last sentence