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  #1  
Old 07-20-2012, 03:51 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Should the media help mass murderers get famous?

Considering the fact that many mass shooters go on their rampages in part for the grotesque infamy, are news outlets immoral for abetting this motive by publishing/airing the killers' names, likenesses and grisly deeds in a constant stream for months after? What legitimate service are they providing their viewers beyond morbid curiosity? Why do we need to know such details if it only serves to motivate the next psychopath?
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  #2  
Old 07-20-2012, 04:03 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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I think the press has to be careful in how it publicizes this kind of stuff, but yes, this stuff is news by any sensible definition of news. There are guidelines on how to cover this kind of stuff responsibly and those should be followed and kept up to date, but no, things like this shouldn't be deliberately kept quiet. I'm very uncomfortable with that idea. And particularly with all the social media out there, it's not like the random shooting of 12 people could possibly stay secret anyway. I also think you're overstating the "months" of coverage. This will in the news a lot for a few days and then it'll start to quiet down.
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Old 07-20-2012, 04:11 PM
Inbred Mm domesticus Inbred Mm domesticus is offline
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What's the evidence that such news motivates psychopaths?

The legitimate service provided by the news in these instances is to inform us - case closed. What we do with the information is our business. An example might be to get some sense, whether accurate or not, for why it happened: (1) events that led up to this kid shooting everyone; (2) how he acquired his weapons; (3) the tools he used to boobytrap his apartment.

Is the news immoral for reporting all the details? No. Even if the killer is motivated by the infamy, it's the killer that is already so messed up that the infamy of a mass killing is attractive. To get that messed up and able to acquire the tools needed to murder all those people is the only important concern by the time the news is reporting it to us.

Also, can you demonstrate that any mass killer was motivated by infamy?
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Old 07-20-2012, 04:16 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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And while these incidents are tragic and very memorable, they're also very, very rare. I know it looks like a lot if you list them because everybody wishes that they never happened at all, and that's small comfort to anybody who's lost someone in a mass shooting like this, but they are extremely rare. Is the argument that if the media refused to cover them, they would completely stop happening? That feels more than a little unrealistic.
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  #5  
Old 07-20-2012, 04:18 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
I think the press has to be careful in how it publicizes this kind of stuff, but yes, this stuff is news by any sensible definition of news. There are guidelines on how to cover this kind of stuff responsibly and those should be followed and kept up to date, but no, things like this shouldn't be deliberately kept quiet. I'm very uncomfortable with that idea. And particularly with all the social media out there, it's not like the random shooting of 12 people could possibly stay secret anyway. I also think you're overstating the "months" of coverage. This will in the news a lot for a few days and then it'll start to quiet down.
I don't mean trying to keep the event itself under wraps. I'm talking about the round-the-clock display of the shooters' names, images, histories, etc. The scope of the coverage may wane in relatively short order, but we'll be hearing the name and seeing the pictures of the Batman Shooter (he already has a nickname) fairly regularly for months at the very least. We're now being treated to fresh reminders of the Columbine shooters for no other reason than the fact that the latest incident took place in the same state. Is it really necessary for us to know the shooter's name or see his picture? Does that really add to our understanding in a substantial enough way it's worth the risk of motivating another violent outcast? I realize such suppression would have to be done voluntarily by the various news outlets and that none of them will ever have the discipline to do it.
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  #6  
Old 07-20-2012, 04:19 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Eh. Most news is nothing more than "morbid curiosity", and I'm not buying the OP's thesis that news coverage is important in motivating the shooters.

Freedom of the press is much more important than anyone's particular taste in news.
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  #7  
Old 07-20-2012, 04:27 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Originally Posted by Inbred Mm domesticus View Post

Also, can you demonstrate that any mass killer was motivated by infamy?
When you consider the various notes, videos, Internet postings and the like either left behind or spread in advance by some of these killers, it's no stretch at all. The Columbine killers fancied themselves as modern desperadoes and were very clear in what they said and wrote leading up to their attack what it would mean for their reputations. I'm not suggesting this is the case for all shooters, but it certainly plays a part for many.
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Old 07-20-2012, 04:31 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Freedom of the press is much more important than anyone's particular taste in news.
It's not a freedom of the press issue. No one has yet suggested they be limited by the government. It comes down to how they choose to cover these events.
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Old 07-20-2012, 04:45 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Eh. Most news is nothing more than "morbid curiosity", and I'm not buying the OP's thesis that news coverage is important in motivating the shooters.
The theory that fame is a motivator for rampage killers is fairly common.

http://m.newser.com/story/18672/noto...-shooters.html

I work in television news and can tell you in every newsroom I've ever worked this belief is so common it's virtually a given. The way these stories are covered is a source of ethical conflict for many.
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  #10  
Old 07-20-2012, 04:50 PM
Skald the Rhymer Skald the Rhymer is offline
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Does noting the date and time of their executions count?
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  #11  
Old 07-20-2012, 05:06 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Originally Posted by Victor Charlie View Post
I don't mean trying to keep the event itself under wraps. I'm talking about the round-the-clock display of the shooters' names, images, histories, etc. The scope of the coverage may wane in relatively short order, but we'll be hearing the name and seeing the pictures of the Batman Shooter (he already has a nickname) fairly regularly for months at the very least.
Yes, it's almost as if people find this stuff interesting to talk about. But really, the news will fade in a couple of days. After that, you'll hear about the court case as that slowly happens. It's not going to get round the clock coverage for months. nothing does.

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We're now being treated to fresh reminders of the Columbine shooters for no other reason than the fact that the latest incident took place in the same state.
And the harm of that is what exactly?

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Is it really necessary for us to know the shooter's name or see his picture?
Is it necessary for the police to keep that information a secret or the press refuse to publish it?

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Does that really add to our understanding in a substantial enough way it's worth the risk of motivating another violent outcast?
I asked this already: do you think these incredibly rare events would stop or happen less often if they were not publicized or if the names were kept quiet?

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I realize such suppression would have to be done voluntarily by the various news outlets and that none of them will ever have the discipline to do it.
It's not just a question of discipline, although you're right that news outlets would be reluctant to refuse to publish verified informatino if all of their competitors are running with it. It's that the press is in the business of dissemination information and they're very cautious about refusing to tell the public things the public might want to know. For instance major media outlets have agreed they won't publish the names of accusers in sexual abuse or rape cases because there's evidence that it might make future victims afraid to come forward, and they generally won't publish the names of minors accused of crimes because they may not be responsible for their actions. Without overwhelming evidence that publishing the names of the criminal in cases like this really causes more crimes, you're not going to convince anyone to stop. And I may as well point out here that Holmes' name would become a matter of public record once criminal charges were filed.
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  #12  
Old 07-20-2012, 05:56 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by Victor Charlie View Post
It's not a freedom of the press issue. No one has yet suggested they be limited by the government. It comes down to how they choose to cover these events.
When you say things like "What legitimate service are they providing their viewers", you invite such comments. Why does anyone need to provide a "legitimate service"? That is a standard to bring up only if you want to get the government involved. A service is a service, and issues of legitimacy are legal issues.
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  #13  
Old 07-20-2012, 05:56 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
Yes, it's almost as if people find this stuff interesting to talk about. But really, the news will fade in a couple of days. After that, you'll hear about the court case as that slowly happens. It's not going to get round the clock coverage for months. nothing does.
Regardless of how long it's in the news cycle it will make a "celebrity" out of the shooter.


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And the harm of that is what exactly?
It reinforces the idea that the killers name will live in infamy. Supports the argument I made above.


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Is it necessary for the police to keep that information a secret or the press refuse to publish it?
If they want to limit the notoriety heaped on a rampage killer they should. This should be fairly self-evident.


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I asked this already: do you think these incredibly rare events would stop or happen less often if they were not publicized or if the names were kept quiet?
If a quest for fame is a motivator, which is a pretty easy thing to demonstrate in most cases, it stands to reason that it would be wise to eliminate as many motivators as possible, unless a greater need is met by publicizing such details. It's nave, I think, to suggest there aren't borderline cases out there watching the media blitz and thinking "that could be me."


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It's not just a question of discipline, although you're right that news outlets would be reluctant to refuse to publish verified informatino if all of their competitors are running with it. It's that the press is in the business of dissemination information and they're very cautious about refusing to tell the public things the public might want to know. For instance major media outlets have agreed they won't publish the names of accusers in sexual abuse or rape cases because there's evidence that it might make future victims afraid to come forward, and they generally won't publish the names of minors accused of crimes because they may not be responsible for their actions. Without overwhelming evidence that publishing the names of the criminal in cases like this really causes more crimes, you're not going to convince anyone to stop. And I may as well point out here that Holmes' name would become a matter of public record once criminal charges were filed.
You've just given several instances where the press embargoes information in order to prevent future crime or reluctance to come forward. Again, if a quest for fame is a motivating factor (again, easy to demonstrate) then how would withholding only the identity of the shooter be substantively different? Having a defendant's name in the public record is quite different than thousands of mentions on dozens of channels over the course of months. Since Holmes didn't kill himself, there will be heavy coverage up through his trial until his conviction.
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Old 07-20-2012, 06:03 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
When you say things like "What legitimate service are they providing their viewers", you invite such comments. Why does anyone need to provide a "legitimate service"? That is a standard to bring up only if you want to get the government involved. A service is a service, and issues of legitimacy are legal issues.
I'm talking about morality. What service to the viewer does the media provide when trumpeting the name of a mass murderer that outweighs the risk of motivating the next lunatic?
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  #15  
Old 07-20-2012, 06:46 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Originally Posted by Victor Charlie View Post
It reinforces the idea that the killers name will live in infamy.
Mass killers have been infamous throughout history. Do you think you can stop that?

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If they want to limit the notoriety heaped on a rampage killer they should.
Why do they need to?

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If a quest for fame is a motivator, which is a pretty easy thing to demonstrate in most cases, it stands to reason that it would be wise to eliminate as many motivators as possible, unless a greater need is met by publicizing such details.
Can you show me a real reason to believe this kind of policy would be effective? I understand the fact that these psychos want to make a splash and have people pay attention to them. That doesn't mean that's the cause of the shootings. A lot of people want attention but less than 0.001 percent of people will shoot up a movie theater to get it. I would argue a greater need is met by publicizing those details. The public's right to know and its interest in this case trumps the good done by denying publicity to the kind of lunatics who might kill people for the hell of it even if there is no publicity involved. How much do we have to change our society and give up our own rights to stop the actions of crazy people?

I think you're really not grasping how rare these crimes are. My guess is that you are proposing something on the order of banning swimming in the ocean because you're tired of hearing about people who die in shark attacks. (OK, granted: that would work.) With something this vanishingly rare, what makes you so sure you can prevent it? Aren't you make a big assumption here, and aren't you saying that really, you'll be the judge of what other people need to know?

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You've just given several instances where the press embargoes information in order to prevent future crime or reluctance to come forward.
Yes, I did. And I said you need a damn good reason.

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Again, if a quest for fame is a motivating factor (again, easy to demonstrate) then how would withholding only the identity of the shooter be substantively different?
Because you've given us no reason to think it will prevent the crimes other than saying it's obvious to you that it will prevent the crimes. And in those other instances, the information is not embargoed to prevent crimes because nobody thinks it will do that - it's done to facilitate justice and reduce the harm to innocent people.

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Having a defendant's name in the public record is quite different than thousands of mentions on dozens of channels over the course of months.
Once his name is in the public record, how are you going to prevent the thousands of mentions in the news? You're now saying that not only should the shooting not get coverage, but the trial should be embargoed, too? Exactly how is this going to work - if you kill a couple of people it's OK to cover it, but if you kill 12, that's in the blackout zone? Should the press cover things like organized crime, where the body counts can be even higher?

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Originally Posted by Victor Charlie View Post
I'm talking about morality. What service to the viewer does the media provide when trumpeting the name of a mass murderer that outweighs the risk of motivating the next lunatic?
Driving in your car is a bigger risk than that, and you've provided no real evidence that this coverage will motivate "the next lunatic." With a country of 310 million people, there are a lot of crazy people out there and very few mass killers.

Last edited by Marley23; 07-20-2012 at 06:47 PM..
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Old 07-20-2012, 06:59 PM
Vinyl Turnip Vinyl Turnip is offline
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It's the "trolls will go away if nobody responds to them" proposal. Solid idea that will never happen.
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Old 07-20-2012, 07:27 PM
Euphonious Polemic Euphonious Polemic is offline
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Originally Posted by Victor Charlie View Post
I don't mean trying to keep the event itself under wraps. I'm talking about the round-the-clock display of the shooters' names, images, histories, etc. The scope of the coverage may wane in relatively short order, but we'll be hearing the name and seeing the pictures of the Batman Shooter (he already has a nickname) fairly regularly for months at the very least.
I was thinking of your very points this morning.

I'd be quite pleased if the press voluntarily removed the names of killers like this from their coverage. They could simply report them as "a deranged killer" or somesuch. The news reports could read as: "The murderer was arrested today at ...." or "Neighbors of the accused murderer said he was a quiet person." or "The trial for the man accused of murdering 12 people began today at..." Or The convicted murderer of 12 people in Colorado was executed today at ..."

Don't put his name anywhere in the stories.
Don't put his picture anywhere on TV or Internet or Print news.

It does not even matter if there is a direct link between a shooter and his desire to see himself famous. I don't care. It would be great if the media did not go ahead and make him famous. We don't need to know his name to get the full news story. We don't need to see his picture to get all the news we need to know. Make him anonymous. Make him a non-person.
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  #18  
Old 07-20-2012, 07:56 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Originally Posted by Euphonious Polemic View Post
We don't need to know his name to get the full news story.
I still don't understand why you and the OP are qualified to judge what everybody else needs to know. And a print embargo would be pointless when anybody can get access to things like court records and put them online.

Last edited by Marley23; 07-20-2012 at 07:57 PM..
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  #19  
Old 07-20-2012, 08:13 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
Mass killers have been infamous throughout history. Do you think you can stop that?
And the reason they became infamous is because their names were splashed across every television station, newspaper and dime novel seeking to reach an audience. But there are a couple of important distinctions. First, killers of the past didn't become, literally, overnight celebrities. Plus, most of the ones we still talk about today were serial killers, because 150 years ago a single killer couldn't walk into a theater and shoot 60 people. The price of entry for a rampage killer is shockingly small. A lunatic with a grudge and a credit card can start with nothing and murder 20 people within a couple of days. Before the easy access to weaponry we have today, most serial killers would be caught well before they racked up a body count even close to what someone can do in 10 minutes today.

But the biggest difference is that serial killers rarely sought personal notoriety. In fact, it was quite the opposite. They were motivated by something far different from fame. If you have any examples of a 19th century schoolkid spree killing 20 classmates then I'll take it into consideration.


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Why do they need to?
You've made this a circular argument. The reason would be to eliminate as many motivators as possible.

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Can you show me a real reason to believe this kind of policy would be effective? I understand the fact that these psychos want to make a splash and have people pay attention to them. That doesn't mean that's the cause of the shootings. A lot of people want attention but less than 0.001 percent of people will shoot up a movie theater to get it.
The main reason is the same one given for why we don't reveal the names of certain accusers... Because it's logical. Those who live among gorillas don't get killed very often, either, but it's because they give the gorillas as few reasons to kill as possible. There's no way to know exactly how many of these acts will be prevented. And while they is rare, they're more common, or at least way more deadly, than they have been in the past. Preventing just one would make a pretty substantial difference.

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I would argue a greater need is met by publicizing those details. The public's right to know and its interest in this case trumps the good done by denying publicity to the kind of lunatics who might kill people for the hell of it even if there is no publicity involved. How much do we have to change our society and give up our own rights to stop the actions of crazy people?
Okay, what need of yours is served? You said yourself that the killers' names become public record as soon as they're arrested or a death certificate is issued. If you have a vested interest you can get the information without the media coverage making the guy a celebrity.

I'm still waiting to hear why the name and likeness of the killer is so vital in the general publics understanding of the case. Every detail of the crime itself, police response, victims killed, family reactions, impending prosecution and Christian Bale's opinion can still be widely disseminated. What perspective will broadcasting his name and image give you when you can Google it yourself if you need to?

Yes, I did. And I said you need a damn good reason.


Because you've given us no reason to think it will prevent the crimes other than saying it's obvious to you that it will prevent the crimes. And in those other instances, the information is not embargoed to prevent crimes because nobody thinks it will do that - it's done to facilitate justice and reduce the harm to innocent people.

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Once his name is in the public record, how are you going to prevent the thousands of mentions in the news?
This isn't about a law or policy to regulate news outlets. It's asking if news outlets are morally or ethically justified in giving notoriety to these guys in the first place, especially when there doesn't seem to be a need or benefit beyond satisfying salacious curiosity.

Last edited by Victor Charlie; 07-20-2012 at 08:15 PM..
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:24 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Missed edit window. This text should've been deleted above:

Yes, I did. And I said you need a damn good reason.


Because you've given us no reason to think it will prevent the crimes other than saying it's obvious to you that it will prevent the crimes. And in those other instances, the information is not embargoed to prevent crimes because nobody thinks it will do that - it's done to facilitate justice and reduce the harm to innocent people.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:33 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
I still don't understand why you and the OP are qualified to judge what everybody else needs to know. And a print embargo would be pointless when anybody can get access to things like court records and put them online.
The press judges all the time what info they will and won't publish.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:37 PM
Euphonious Polemic Euphonious Polemic is offline
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I still don't understand why you and the OP are qualified to judge what everybody else needs to know. And a print embargo would be pointless when anybody can get access to things like court records and put them online.
It's my personal preference. I wish it were so. I realize that I can't force my wishes upon you. I wish you also had the fortitude to wish it were so as well, but that's life.

You'll note I used the term "voluntary". I am not so stupid as to think an embargo would work. That's why I used the term "voluntary."
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:46 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Originally Posted by Victor Charlie View Post
And the reason they became infamous is because their names were splashed across every television station, newspaper and dime novel seeking to reach an audience.
Killers became infamous before TV, newspapers, and novels ever existed. Do you understand there is an entire category of folk songs called murder ballads? People have always been fascinated by this stuff and retold the gory details. I'm not saying it's our best quality as a species, but it's true. Blaming it on the modern mass media means you are not aware of a lot of history.

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Before the easy access to weaponry we have today, most serial killers would be caught well before they racked up a body count even close to what someone can do in 10 minutes today.
And yet these killings are still exceptionally rare. How do you account for that?

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But the biggest difference is that serial killers rarely sought personal. In fact, it was quite the opposite. They were motivated by something far different from fame.
Do you have any factual basis for these statements? I get the sense that you think randomly killing for fame is somehow worse than randomly killing them for some other reason. It isn't. It might seem more shallow and offensive on a certain level, but any reason for shooting a bunch of strangers is equally terrible. There are still serial killers who work in secret and don't want to be famous. I guess they are a different breed of crazy from people who shoot up a school or a movie theater.

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The reason would be to eliminate as many motivators as possible.
The motivator is mental illness. Maybe we should focus on that one. Unfortunately you cannot predict what will set off someone who is this profoundly disturbed. I know the Virginia Tech shooter sent pictures to NBC and wanted the press to pay attention to him. Other mass shooters like Nidal Hassan at Fort Hood had different motives. I do not know what James Holmes wanted or thought he wanted.

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The main reason is the same one given for why we don't reveal the names of certain accusers... Because it's logical.
That's reason the names of some accusers and criminals are not published is not just "it's logical." It's because there is a compelling and concrete reason to think it's better not to publish than to publish. You haven't provided that, mostly because you have not established that it would work. So I don't think your idea is logical at all. In fact, right now you seem to be arguing that it's OK for the press to publish that 12 people were shot to death in a movie theater as long as the name of the killer isn't published. The killer is going to know they're talking about what he did. Wouldn't that be plenty good enough? Do you have a reason to think that just avoiding his name and picture would discourage these acts? You've posted no evidence except claims that you are obviously right, you've provided no concrete reason to think it would actually reduce murder rampages, and maybe most importantly, you haven't provided a serious argument as to why millions of people have to be denied basic information so one person in 50 million won't do something crazy. Does that sound like a logical way to live? I don't think it is.

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Okay, what need of yours is served?
I don't need to know. I do have a right to know, and I think it's better that I make the decision about what I want to know rather than having the press make that decision on my behalf because they're afraid of provoking the kind of person who thinks Jesus is sending him secret messages through his alphabet soup.

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You said yourself that the killers' names become public record as soon as they're arrested or a death certificate is issued.
Yup. Which means any blogger and any Twitterer can post them and send them around the world. This is a major challenge for press policies like the ones I mentioned earlier: it's going to become harder and harder to keep these things private. Once it's on the 'net, it's pointless for the news to refuse to cover it because millions of people will already know. So what is accomplished with an embargo at that point?

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I'm still waiting to hear why the name and likeness of the killer is so vital in the general publics understanding of the case.
I didn't say it's vital. I said people should have the greatest latitude possible to decide what they want to know. The press is in the business of broadcasting information. You have to make an extremely strong case to show they should not publish accurate information that the public might have an interest in. You haven't done that. You've said these people are only killing for fame and that if their names were not published, they wouldn't do it. You haven't provided any evidence for that, and I don't think you can.

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It's asking if news outlets are morally or ethically justified in giving notoriety to these guys in the first place, especially when there doesn't seem to be a need or benefit beyond satisfying salacious curiosity.
It's information in the public interest. That's all the justification the press needs. I agree with you that this coverage is usually excessive and it's often disgusting, and I wish it was handled differently. But I don't think you can justify embargoing information on this basis.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:47 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Originally Posted by Euphonious Polemic View Post
It's my personal preference. I wish it were so. I realize that I can't force my wishes upon you. I wish you also had the fortitude to wish it were so as well, but that's life.

You'll note I used the term "voluntary". I am not so stupid as to think an embargo would work. That's why I used the term "voluntary."

My use of "embargo" is actually an industry term for the withholding or nondissemination of information for editorial or copyright reasons. It's not related to a government or regulatory mandate.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:49 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Originally Posted by Euphonious Polemic View Post
It's my personal preference. I wish it were so. I realize that I can't force my wishes upon you.
You're arguing the press should adopt your wishes, which basically does mean forcing your wish onto other people.

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You'll note I used the term "voluntary". I am not so stupid as to think an embargo would work. That's why I used the term "voluntary."
An embargo is when the press voluntarily holds off on publishing something.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:50 PM
Euphonious Polemic Euphonious Polemic is offline
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It's information in the public interest. That's all the justification the press needs.
It is in the public interest though? Not "does it interest the public". But is it in the public interest?

To put it another way, is the public's prurient interest always necessarily in the public interest in the sense of "central to the well being of the public"?
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:58 PM
Euphonious Polemic Euphonious Polemic is offline
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Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
You're arguing the press should adopt your wishes, which basically does mean forcing your wish onto other people.
Perhaps, but certainly my phrasing it as "wish" was intentional on my part to distance my meaning from "force others". It was deliberately chosen. If you want to slide my statement of "I wish something were so" to one of "I wish to force others to do what I want", that's certainly up to you.

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Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
An embargo is when the press voluntarily holds off on publishing something.
Yes, I see. I was using the term "embargo" more in terms of complete prohibition by using force, as in an embargo of a port by the navy of an enemy nation. I see that "press embargo" has a different connotation of voluntary action.
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  #28  
Old 07-20-2012, 09:07 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Originally Posted by Euphonious Polemic View Post
It is in the public interest though? Not "does it interest the public". But is it in the public interest?
In the general sense that it's important to have accurate information about crimes, criminal proceedings, dangers to their safety, and issues of that type.

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Originally Posted by Euphonious Polemic View Post
Perhaps, but certainly my phrasing it as "wish" was intentional on my part to distance my meaning from "force others".
OK. Nonetheless we're talking about a policy where (if the press adopts your view), the public doesn't get the information.
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  #29  
Old 07-20-2012, 09:14 PM
Euphonious Polemic Euphonious Polemic is offline
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Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
In the general sense that it's important to have accurate information about crimes, criminal proceedings, dangers to their safety, and issues of that type.


OK. Nonetheless we're talking about a policy where (if the press adopts your view), the public doesn't get the information.
Well yes, but the only information I'm suggesting that the news agencies voluntarily withhold is the name and photo of the accused. Just don't give his name notoriety. I'm sure it will get out via other means to those who really really want to know. That's fine. but don't splash his name and photo in huge font across the front page.

If the public does not get his name and photo blasted at them from the media 24/7 for the next 5 days, I don't think that the essential well being of the public will be damaged, or that they will be unsafe for not knowing his name, or that the justice system will be called into disrepute because CNN is not showing his picture every 10 minutes.
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:52 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Are you saying that would actually deter mass shootings like this, or do you just feel it would be in better taste? If it's the second one, I don't agree but I understand why you feel that way. If it's the first, I don't think it makes any sense.
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  #31  
Old 07-20-2012, 10:53 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
Killers became infamous before TV, newspapers, and novels ever existed. Do you understand there is an entire category of folk songs called murder ballads? People have always been fascinated by this stuff and retold the gory details. I'm not saying it's our best quality as a species, but it's true. Blaming it on the modern mass media means you are not aware of a lot of history.
Hearing a tale sung or story told about some long past murderer is not nearly the same as weeks of wall-to-wall news coverage showing photos and videos of the murderer, gory descriptions of crimes that took place just 10 hours prior, international media attention. Come on. You know that's a far cry from any potential motivation a would-be psychotic might get from the tales of Sweeney Todd.

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And yet these killings are still exceptionally rare. How do you account for that?
Rare but increasingly deadly. And so what? If there's a very real potential for preventing one with no loss in availability of information, why wouldn't you do it? If there was a chance of preventing a shark attack by not showing the picture of a killer shark, would you say "fuck it I'm showing it anyway? People need to see what this shark looks like!"

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Do you have any factual basis for these statements? I get the sense that you think randomly killing for fame is somehow worse than randomly killing them for some other reason.
What gives you that impression? The point is if we know some of them do it for fame, that's one motivator we can eliminate without sacrificing anything.


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The motivator is mental illness.
And a relatively frequent trigger is the opportunity for fame for an angry, borderline loner with no other means to get noticed or earn respect.

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you cannot predict what will set off someone who is this profoundly disturbed.
No, but you can figure out what might. It only makes sense to mitigate those risks when possible.

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That's reason the names of some accusers and criminals are not published is not just "it's logical." It's because there is a compelling and concrete reason to think it's better not to publish than to publish. You haven't provided that, mostly because you have not established that it would work.
People take actions based on logical assumptions all the time. If fame-seeking is a commonly given reason for psychos to rampage, it's a short, straight line to the conclusion that, hey, maybe we shouldn't make them famous.

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you seem to be arguing that it's OK for the press to publish that 12 people were shot to death in a movie theater as long as the name of the killer isn't published. The killer is going to know they're talking about what he did. Wouldn't that be plenty good enough?
I'm arguing that news outlets ought to have a very compelling reason to broadcast the killer's name and picture if they know it just might trigger another lunatic. It's not about denying satisfaction to the current killer, they're usually dead by now. We know for certain the Columbine killers were obsessed with the morbid celebrity they'd gain by murdering dozens of classmates, and we obliged them. Who know how many subsequent killers found that intriguing. Killers don't have their delusions of grandeur satisfied if they're reduced to anonymous, faceless losers... Which is the feeling they thought they'd change by killing a bunch of people.

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and maybe most importantly, you haven't provided a serious argument as to why millions of people have to be denied basic information so one person in 50 million won't do something crazy.
You don't seem to want to address this point. Nobody would be denied any information. I'm not talking about surpressing the public record. I'm talking about needlessly and instantaneously giving fame to guys who just may have killed so we'd give them instant fame.

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I don't need to know. I do have a right to know
Then look it up. It'll be right there on the Google.

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and I think it's better that I make the decision about what I want to know rather than having the press make that decision on my behalf
The press makes decisions all the time on what they're willing to tell you, for a whole host of reasons.


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Which means any blogger and any Twitterer can post them and send them around the world. This is a major challenge for press policies like the ones I mentioned earlier: it's going to become harder and harder to keep these things private. Once it's on the 'net, it's pointless for the news to refuse to cover it because millions of people will already know. So what is accomplished with an embargo at that point?
This is true and certainly makes it easier for anyone to gain fame. But, it's rarely possible to gain truly widespread notoriety without mainstream media exposure, despite what bloggers would have you believe. If you take ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, plus every broadcast affiliate, newspaper and magazine out of the mix, you can tweet until your balls turn blue, but the killers own parents won't notice.
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:48 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Originally Posted by Victor Charlie View Post
Hearing a tale sung or story told about some long past murderer is not nearly the same as weeks of wall-to-wall news coverage showing photos and videos of the murderer, gory descriptions of crimes that took place just 10 hours prior, international media attention.
You said the news media made killers infamous, and I pointed out that there were infamous killers long before there was anything like the modern media. Is worldwide news coverage the same as a song about Stagger Lee? No. But I'd argue that was the olden-days equivalent.

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Come on. You know that's a far cry from any potential motivation a would-be psychotic might get from the tales of Sweeney Todd.
How do you know where psychotics get their motivation?

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Rare but increasingly deadly.
Do you have a cite for that?

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If there's a very real potential for preventing one with no loss in availability of information, why wouldn't you do it?
You have not provided any evidence that your idea would prevent even one attack like this (which is a very limited claim). The idea is pretty silly, to be honest: you're talking about people who are violently insane and willing to kill. I know that some of them wanted publicity, but you can't assume that they will not kill if they know they won't get media coverage. And second, you are arguing two contradictory points: that the crazy people won't go on shooting sprees if they are not guaranteed publicity, and that the information will still be available to anybody who wants it. As the thread has gone on it looks like you are making an even more limited claim: that these people will be deprived of a motivator if the news reports on the shooting but just doesn't mention the name of the killer (which will still be readily accessible on the Internet). There is just no reason to believe this.

Wall to wall coverage of a story like this - when nothing is happening and there's nothing to report and they just repeat the person's name and show a few clips over and over again - is very distasteful. Don't get me wrong, we agree about that. There's plenty of other news to cover and no reason to spend hours and hours rehashing a massacre when the event is over. But I don't agree that it's immoral to cover this stuff, I don't think it is a good idea for the press to hide some of the details, I don't think it would prevent shooting sprees, and I don't think we should make these kinds of changes based on fear of what people who are batshit crazy might do.

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If there was a chance of preventing a shark attack by not showing the picture of a killer shark, would you say "fuck it I'm showing it anyway? People need to see what this shark looks like!"
If the shark is out there, wouldn't people have a better chance of avoiding it if they knew what it looked like? (Maybe we should drop this analogy; it's already getting kind of silly.)

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What gives you that impression?
Most of your posts on this topic. You're insisting on a solution that, from where I sit, would not work and would accomplish nothing of value, but you're insisting on it because you're determined to deny publicity to these people.

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The point is if we know some of them do it for fame, that's one motivator we can eliminate without sacrificing anything.
We do not know that denying them fame will prevent anything from happening. You keep saying that's the motivator, but the main cause is untreated mental illness. Only one person in millions will do anything like this. So how do you know that refusing to put their names in a newspaper will stop them?

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And a relatively frequent trigger
Relatively frequent? Do you understand how uncommon these things are? Even if you start listing the most famous shooting and killing rampages, it's easy to find ones where there is not much evidence that the shooters wanted media attention. The Virginia Tech shooter wanted that, but the Fort Hood shooter? That was about politics and religion and it was arguably an act of terrorism. The Tucson shooter had some crazy beliefs about money and arguably felt Rep. Giffords had once insulted him. The Luby's massacre wasn't about fame as far as I can tell. The Bath Township school bombing in 1924 - a bigger school attack than Virginia Tech, and in 1924! - was carried out by a guy who was upset about his mortgage. The biggest postal worker shooting was done by a guy who was angry about being reprimanded for poor performance. Some of these people - my guess is usually younger killers, and probably with an emphasis on some of the recent ones - have demonstrated attention seeking behavior above and beyond the fact that they murdered a bunch of people for no real reason. But you seem to have concluded that a lot of these guys do it for the inevitable news media coverage, and I'm not sure about that. Sometimes they're dead before that coverage even begins.

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No, but you can figure out what might. It only makes sense to mitigate those risks when possible.
So you're acknowledging that you don't really know this is the motive? It just makes sense to you that it is, so news coverage should be restricted because you think that'll help?

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I'm arguing that news outlets ought to have a very compelling reason to broadcast the killer's name and picture if they know it just might trigger another lunatic.
There is a very compelling reason to broadcast the killer's name: it's major news. And they don't know that it might trigger another lunatic. Considering how much coverage these shooting do get, you might expect there would be a lot more of them if that was how it worked.

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Killers don't have their delusions of grandeur satisfied if they're reduced to anonymous, faceless losers... Which is the feeling they thought they'd change by killing a bunch of people.
Which we're addressing by just not mentioning their names on TV even though we'll report that they killed a bunch of people and their names will be all over the web.

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You don't seem to want to address this point. Nobody would be denied any information. I'm not talking about surpressing the public record. I'm talking about needlessly and instantaneously giving fame to guys who just may have killed so we'd give them instant fame.
Again, you are making two contradictory arguments: nobody would be denied any information, and the killers would be denied the fame they seek. Can you see where this might be a little ridiculous?

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Then look it up. It'll be right there on the Google.
Right. The names will be easily findable with a Google search, but the killers won't get famous and will be denied attention, so future nuts won't kill.

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The press makes decisions all the time on what they're willing to tell you, for a whole host of reasons.
Yes, they make judgments about what goes into the news and how it is covered. Decisions on withholding important information are rare and they require a very good reason. You're provided a reason that sounds nice but doesn't make logical sense and sounds totally ineffective.

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But, it's rarely possible to gain truly widespread notoriety without mainstream media exposure, despite what bloggers would have you believe.
If the information isn't on the news sites and it's on blogs and easily findable through search engines, it will gain wide exposure regardless.

Last edited by Marley23; 07-20-2012 at 11:51 PM..
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  #33  
Old 07-21-2012, 12:37 AM
Enkel Enkel is offline
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Originally Posted by Euphonious Polemic View Post
Well yes, but the only information I'm suggesting that the news agencies voluntarily withhold is the name and photo of the accused. Just don't give his name notoriety. I'm sure it will get out via other means to those who really really want to know. That's fine. but don't splash his name and photo in huge font across the front page.

If the public does not get his name and photo blasted at them from the media 24/7 for the next 5 days, I don't think that the essential well being of the public will be damaged, or that they will be unsafe for not knowing his name, or that the justice system will be called into disrepute because CNN is not showing his picture every 10 minutes.
Actually, think about this mass killing that just happened. You'll notice that the image used is a "normal" image and not one with the dyed hair. Right now, law enforcement is trying to piece together what led up to this incident. Having his face/name "splashed all over the news" will ensure that many people see him. It is possible that people who could provide useful input crossed this man's path without knowing him, but might have observed something that will be useful to law enforcement (remember, they still have to convict this guy, who will probably try to claim that he was not responsible due to mental illness).

So, yes, I think it can serve the public interest to have his name/face splashed all over the place. You'll notice that his booking photo IS NOT out there. There was nothing stopping the police from withholding all of his information if they didn't want it out there.

Second, if there were a nutjob in waiting out there who is following this. The shooter's notoriety is certainly not positive. I'm sure the comments on any online articles are filled with people who would like to see the shooter strung up by his boy bits. Notoriety today is not quite the same as in the past where a newspaper printed an article with no ability for public input. As days pass, there will be more and more reporting of the suffering caused to families and loved ones. That may actually put off some nutjobs who are really only intent on suicide-by-cop and going out in a blaze of glory. Perhaps they'll choose an alternate path. If nothing else, in today's online environment, the shooter will be ridiculed as a nutjob. Not exactly something to aspire to.
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  #34  
Old 07-21-2012, 12:59 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by Victor Charlie View Post
I'm talking about morality. What service to the viewer does the media provide when trumpeting the name of a mass murderer that outweighs the risk of motivating the next lunatic?
What's your proposal? People are not going to self sensor. You do realize that, don't you? So what policy do your propose to solve this "problem"?

Why does morality have to enter into the equation? If you own a media outlet, you can run it any way you like. But pretending that there is some objective test for what is newsworthy and what is not is simple arrogance. Who is to decide what is moral in terms of what is reported? If you don't like it, don't read it.
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  #35  
Old 07-21-2012, 01:03 AM
IntelliQ IntelliQ is offline
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They go overboard. It's up to you to tune out the excess.

Unfortunately and unforgivably, the alphabet news tried blaming the Tea Party (just as they did with the senator shooting) so I find myself coming back to watch for corrections. And I dont want to!

Sick fucking people. Everywhere.

As for what drives it, you decide, I had enough. (I just came here to see if it you all are going to talk about it. For the record Marley hit it spot on way up thread.)
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  #36  
Old 07-21-2012, 01:06 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Just to add... you know the kind of societies where this isn'r reported in the news? Yes, totalitarian countries where some governing body takes it upon itself to determine what people need to know and what information is harmful to the smooth operation of the state.

You may want to live in such a society, but I don't. People are not going to self sensor, so if you want this to change you are going to have to bring the heavy arm of the state into play. If you don't want to do that, then you'll just have to learn to live with this "problem".
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Old 07-21-2012, 01:35 AM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
You said the news media made killers infamous, and I pointed out that there were infamous killers long before there was anything like the modern media. Is worldwide news coverage the same as a song about Stagger Lee? No. But I'd argue that was the olden-days equivalent.
Who would motivate young would-be football stars today? Tales of Johnny Unitas or watching Aaron Rodgers win a Super Bowl?

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How do you know where psychotics get their motivation?
m.newser.com/story/18672/notoriety-drives-mass-shooters.html
abcnews.go.com/GMA/VATech/Story?id=3056168&page=2
blueoregon.com/2007/12/fame-and-murder/
claytoncramer.com/scholarly/JMME2.htm

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Do you have a cite for that?
en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rampage_killers

Check the U.S. Numbers particularly. You'll see that worst rampages fall predominently 1985 or later. Probably not a lot of Stagger Lee-motivated killers in there.


Quote:
You have not provided any evidence that your idea would prevent even one attack like this (which is a very limited claim).
If throwing rocks at bears was shown to increase bear attacks, would you need empirical evidence that non-rock-throwing would reduce the chance of getting attacked compared to rock-throwing? Or would you draw the ridiculously obvious conclusion that it would be wise to stop throwing rocks at the bears?

Here's more or less what it boils down to:

You: We shouldn't do it because we don't know it'll work.
Me: We won't know it'll work until we do it, but there's a logical and demonstrated connection between cause and effect.

So, what's the cost? Virtually nothing. A brief Google search for those who must know.
What's the benefit? Best case, prevent a mass murder.

If you're okay with your position, so be it. I'm fine with mine.
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  #38  
Old 07-21-2012, 01:39 AM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Just to add... you know the kind of societies where this isn'r reported in the news? Yes, totalitarian countries where some governing body takes it upon itself to determine what people need to know and what information is harmful to the smooth operation of the state.

You may want to live in such a society, but I don't. People are not going to self sensor, so if you want this to change you are going to have to bring the heavy arm of the state into play. If you don't want to do that, then you'll just have to learn to live with this "problem".
Good lord.
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  #39  
Old 07-21-2012, 06:18 AM
PrettyVacant PrettyVacant is offline
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The alleged booby trap is more interesting for me than the shooting. Ties in well with The Joker theme and makes me think in terms of media, but not news media - stuff like ... tv/Hollywood death and violence playing on a troubled mind over many years
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Old 07-21-2012, 09:39 AM
Nikki83 Nikki83 is offline
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Victor Charlie is right

Victor Charlie, I agree with you. I have complained since columbine that it is disgusting how we know the names and faces of the perpetrators, but not the victims.

However, I think the only action required is simply to ban the public PHOTO of the perpetrator in the context or discussion of that specific crime. Information or descriptions, whatever, should not be restricted because we should all demand communication of our surroundings. If there is another crime or whatever, then fine. But in discussion of that crime, we should not give the criminal a glorious headshot in prime-time in every coffee shop accross the world. Who does it benefit besides the criminal?

Does anyone have a reason why the photo of the criminal SHOULD be front and center for any positive reason? Show me the victims. At least require that the victims get more face time than the cowardly wannabe with a gun.

As for those who say there must be proof that the crime is attention-getting, phooey. Of course getting attention is a huge part of the act, and it doesn't take a degree in psychology to figure that out.
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  #41  
Old 07-21-2012, 10:49 AM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
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I can't do much about the mass media, but I try to remember murderers by their victims' names, where possible. Kathy Gifford (not murdered, but shot) Rebecca Lunsford. Who attacked them? I have honestly forgotten. Some nameless wackjob who deserves nothing at all from me in terms of consideration.
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  #42  
Old 07-21-2012, 10:57 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by Victor Charlie View Post
Good lord.
Name one free society where your vision is realized. You can't. The only societies where this happens is in totalitarian states. That's not a accident. I'm sure you think that all you want to do is curtail one tiny little freedom and leave everything else the same. Doesn't work that way.
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  #43  
Old 07-21-2012, 11:26 AM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Name one free society where your vision is realized. You can't. The only societies where this happens is in totalitarian states. That's not a accident. I'm sure you think that all you want to do is curtail one tiny little freedom and leave everything else the same. Doesn't work that way.
You're dipping your toes into Hitler-reference water.

This is a values debate, not a policy debate. Nobody's suggesting any kind of government censorship. The question is if it's ethical and moral for media outlets to publicize the names and images of mass murderers.
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  #44  
Old 07-21-2012, 11:27 AM
A nice guy with an opinion A nice guy with an opinion is offline
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ABC was in a rush to put his name out there....when they thought he was in the Tea Party.
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  #45  
Old 07-21-2012, 11:31 AM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Originally Posted by Nikki83 View Post
Victor Charlie, I agree with you. I have complained since columbine that it is disgusting how we know the names and faces of the perpetrators, but not the victims.

However, I think the only action required is simply to ban the public PHOTO of the perpetrator in the context or discussion of that specific crime. Information or descriptions, whatever, should not be restricted because we should all demand communication of our surroundings. If there is another crime or whatever, then fine. But in discussion of that crime, we should not give the criminal a glorious headshot in prime-time in every coffee shop accross the world. Who does it benefit besides the criminal?

Does anyone have a reason why the photo of the criminal SHOULD be front and center for any positive reason? Show me the victims. At least require that the victims get more face time than the cowardly wannabe with a gun.

As for those who say there must be proof that the crime is attention-getting, phooey. Of course getting attention is a huge part of the act, and it doesn't take a degree in psychology to figure that out.
I agree, but still don't like the idea of the murderer's name on the lips of every news anchor and reporter in the country.
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Old 07-21-2012, 11:41 AM
Euphonious Polemic Euphonious Polemic is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Just to add... you know the kind of societies where this isn'r reported in the news? Yes, totalitarian countries where some governing body takes it upon itself to determine what people need to know and what information is harmful to the smooth operation of the state.
So.... If news organizations voluntarily chose not to splash mass murderer's names and photos all over the papers and television news 24/7... Then we will ipso facto all turn into communists?

Okay then.
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  #47  
Old 07-21-2012, 11:45 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Originally Posted by Nikki83 View Post
Victor Charlie, I agree with you. I have complained since columbine that it is disgusting how we know the names and faces of the perpetrators, but not the victims.
We know some of the victims. It tends to come out slowly because the police want to make sure the families find out from them and not from the news.

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However, I think the only action required is simply to ban the public PHOTO of the perpetrator in the context or discussion of that specific crime.
Again, while this might sound emotionally satisfying, it doesn't make any sense.

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Show me the victims.
Ew.

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Of course getting attention is a huge part of the act, and it doesn't take a degree in psychology to figure that out.
I can tell nobody with a degree in psychology is making the argument.

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Originally Posted by Evil Captor View Post
I try to remember murderers by their victims' names, where possible. Kathy Gifford (not murdered, but shot)
Gabby Giffords. Kathy Gifford was Regis Philbin's first co-host.

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Who attacked them? I have honestly forgotten. Some nameless wackjob who deserves nothing at all from me in terms of consideration.
I do agree with this, though. The name of the shooter tends to fade from people's minds over time. They get some instant fame and then people forget. Unless you knew the killer there's not much reason to remember - which doesn't mean there is any sensible reason to keep it a secret.

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Originally Posted by Victor Charlie View Post
Who would motivate young would-be football stars today? Tales of Johnny Unitas or watching Aaron Rodgers win a Super Bowl?
I'm not arguing that songs motivate spree killers. I am arguing that people have always found this behavior fascinating and memorable. The news media didn't make these things stick in people's minds.

Quote:
m.newser.com/story/18672/notoriety-drives-mass-shooters.html
Somewhat ironically I think I remember news coverage of one of these shooters, but this is the only one of the links that makes the argument - and it does so based on one psychiatrist who doesn't mention any statistics.

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abcnews.go.com/GMA/VATech/Story?id=3056168&page=2
I agreed with this: there was no compelling reason to show Cho's video. But that's about one particular aspect of the Virginia Tech coverage.

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claytoncramer.com/scholarly/JMME2.htm
This one says "Clearly, Joseph Wesbecker was not a healthy, well-adjusted person driven to commit his crime simply because of the sensational news coverage. To argue this would take away Joseph Wesbecker's personal responsibility for his actions."

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Check the U.S. Numbers particularly.
I checked them a couple of times yesterday, actually. I was going to use them yesterday to illustrate how uncommon these things are. I think the list cuts off at shootings where 8 or more people died, but there are less than one a year since the late '80s in a country of 300 million people.

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If throwing rocks at bears was shown to increase bear attacks, would you need empirical evidence that non-rock-throwing would reduce the chance of getting attacked compared to rock-throwing? Or would you draw the ridiculously obvious conclusion that it would be wise to stop throwing rocks at the bears?
I am sure you would like to believe your conclusion is that obvious and that it is really that obvious your idea would work, but unfortunately it isn't. I've explained the reasons several times.

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You: We shouldn't do it because we don't know it'll work.
That's only one component of my argument.
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Me: We won't know it'll work until we do it, but there's a logical and demonstrated connection between cause and effect.
Except you haven't established the logic, and this seems like a stupid thing to do because "it might work."

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So, what's the cost? Virtually nothing. A brief Google search for those who must know.
Right, the killers will be anonymous except their names will be easily findable on Google. So they won't get famous because practically nobody uses Google.

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What's the benefit? Best case, prevent a mass murder.
Maybe it'll prevent dragon attacks, too. It costs virtually nothing and we won't know until we try it, right?

Last edited by Marley23; 07-21-2012 at 12:16 PM.. Reason: fixed quote tag
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  #48  
Old 07-21-2012, 12:15 PM
Inbred Mm domesticus Inbred Mm domesticus is offline
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Originally Posted by Victor Charlie View Post
...This is a values debate, not a policy debate. Nobody's suggesting any kind of government censorship. The question is if it's ethical and moral for media outlets to publicize the names and images of mass murderers.
I would agree that there could be a benefit to withholding the names and details of mass killers if the following sequence of events occurred in all mass killings:

1) Normal, well-adjusted person sees around-the-clock news coverage of mass killings --> 2) The news coverage makes this person obsessed with acquiring infamy --> 3) Plans are made --> 4) Rampage. Yet it's not like this. Do you think it's like this?

Isn't it more like: 1) Lifetime of failure and/or mental illness --> 2) Suicidal ideation --> 3) Desire for revenge against the 'perpetrators' of the most recent devastating failure before the most recent suicide attempt --> 4) Collects guns and weaponry without much effort --> 5) Rampage --> 6) News coverage?

People in the media and some psychologists love to exaggerate the media's role in world affairs. They forget they are there to report and end up making the coverage more about themselves than accurate reporting of events. You see it all the time from the video game violence argument to hearing way too much about the 'social media' angle (or whatever gadget journalists have adopted) in the Arab Spring uprisings.

The problem with the analysis is that although the media's presence and the events are proximal in time, they are only associated. The media's involvement occurs only after-the-fact. The additional, historical influence of media coverage, is confused with a sick mind's self-selection of information to bolster an already accepted plan for revenge.

In that light, the media's ethical and moral role is to report and inform as accurately as possible; not to turn the events into navel-gazing exaggerations of their ability to influence suicidal, depressive, narcissitic assholes.

Last edited by Inbred Mm domesticus; 07-21-2012 at 12:17 PM..
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  #49  
Old 07-21-2012, 12:51 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inbred Mm domesticus View Post
I would agree that there could be a benefit to withholding the names and details of mass killers if the following sequence of events occurred in all mass killings:

1) Normal, well-adjusted person sees around-the-clock news coverage of mass killings --> 2) The news coverage makes this person obsessed with acquiring infamy --> 3) Plans are made --> 4) Rampage. Yet it's not like this. Do you think it's like this?
Of course I don't think like that, which I've made plainly obvious. I'm not suggesting normal, emotionally stable people can be driven to mass murder. But if you know a dangerously unstable person might be triggered by seeing another equally unbalanced nut get famous for shooting up a school, why give him extra temptation if refraining will have no impact on your understanding of the events? That doesn't change the fact that he's still responsible for his actions, but we take steps to mitigate potential damage from irrational people all the time. Would you send your kids alone through an unlit park in a shady part of town at night? After all, they have every right to be there and it would be any would-be attacker's fault if he hurt them. Or would you decide it's just as easy to go around the park?
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  #50  
Old 07-21-2012, 12:58 PM
Victor Charlie Victor Charlie is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
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Maybe it'll prevent dragon attacks, too. It costs virtually nothing and we won't know until we try it, right?
If dragons existed and left behind videos and notes demonstrating their obsession with murder-related fame, it would be stupid to pointlessly oblige them.
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