Monday, April 30, 2007

Media Coverage

It's taken me this long to have something to say about the Virginia Tech shootings, mainly because I like to think about things until I have a conclusion to the point I'm worrying over before I share with people. In this case, I don't have a conclusion, but in these situations,
is there one?

I still don't have anything to say on the shooting itself. It was on every newscast and on the front page of every paper for days and days afterwards. And I thought what I think every time something like this happens and the news cameras swoop in like vultures to capture every tearful tribute to the victims. I've always struggled with this. "Leave them alone!" I want to scream at the news people; "Why can't you let them mourn their dead in peace?" Maybe it's just my personality, being private and reserved, and knowing that if something (God forbid) had happened to my family or friends, I would not want it clobbered all over the media for everyone and their mother's morbid entertainment of the evening. I hate it that the networks capitalize on people's pain for their own already bloated bank accounts in the name of "news".

And the constant loop of the shooter's delusions? Absolutely disgusting. He killed people to get attention--and boy he got it all right. He got everything he wanted, his paranoid grudges aired out for the whole world to see over and over and over. And this doesn't fall into the catagory of "letting the terrorists win" because...?

But on the other hand, something like this shouldn't be just ignored. The victims deserve to be noticed and remembered. It does matter. The people matter. And how are they supposed to balance the vulture with the rightful attention? I don't know. Everyone blames the media, but the media wouldn't do it if people didn't buy into it. The public is just as much to blame: and not just some amorphous blob, but the individual people in it. The millions of individual people that will turn on their TVs and buy the newspaper only when it's splashed with gory excitement.

Perhaps what burns me is the selective nature of their attention. Mass shootings at universities happen with alarming frequency in the Middle East and Iraq (here is a full article on that) that create barely a blip on the media radar besides a droning list of numbers. Given the dangers of reporting in a war zone, I'm not going to condemn the media on that point. But I'd like to point out that even if they can't get the kind of footage that they played over and over again from Virginia, I'm sure they'd be able to get something. Those victims deserve to be noticed and humanized as well.

No comments: