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Thursday, April 19, 2007

show and tell

When I left for work this morning, the TV news people were just starting to eat shit about the incessant loop of the video and pictures of the VT gunman. Last night, on CNN, (sorry no link, it would take me an hour to dig through the Internet to find the interview) Anderson Cooper had an FBI profiler on who told Cooper that the network needed to stop playing the video over and over again, because it was just going to encourage copycats. Cooper thanked him for his comments, told him that had been a topic of discussion and then CNN went right back to playing it over and over again.
By morning, as I said, it seemed to be looping a bit less. By the time I went home for lunch to get lunch for El Nero, the two newscasters on MSNBC were talking to one another about how sensitive they were trying to be (seriously, I mean, is that news? Two newscasters discussing their own sensitivity?). Then one interviewed two VT students, not about the killings, but about how they felt about the videos of Cho being shown on TV. They managed to find two students who were OK with it to explain why they were OK with it. Honestly, it was really bizarre. MSNBC also made a point of pointing out that they were only showing a fraction of the materials, but went no further in describing what they weren't showing (which, in my mind, is a good argument for just showing all of it, since you really can't count on the networks to ever explain anything with any real detail or meaning).
My other meta-media observations today:
The Times has a fairly weak story about what a tough decision NBC had to make when it received the killer's materials, although the story basically tells one nothing about what that decision consisted of and how, specifically, they chose to handle it.
I've just downloaded a podcast from Poynter with a discussion of NBC's decision, which I'm hopeful will contain the real indepth media analysis I'm not going to get from the TV (or The Times, apparently, at least not today).
The DART Center is offering tips to journalists covering VT from journalists who have covered other large tragedies. I found the "tip" about how the media begins creating myths about such tragedies from outset particularly interesting and insightful.