Thursday, April 19, 2007

Virginia Tech Coverage: Media Frenzy’s Make Parents Like Me Even More Paranoid

Ever since becoming a parent, devastations like the whole Virginia tech killings make me even more anxious about raising a kid and troubled about those who might be among us equally “ready-to-explode” as we go on with our lives. But what frustrates me even more is the way the media reacts to tragedy.

I don’t exactly know if crimes and tragedies are the same as they were 100 years ago, but in this age of instant-information the news just can’t help but to make us think this is all new. I also can’t help but to think the news has complete disrespect for the victims, families, students, and survivors by tossing them up in front of a camera solely to exploit them. And not to mention NBC’s decision to show those sick videos of the kid – why? (By playing it and over again the media is playing into what he wanted – to be immortalized.) It has to be for ratings and for those equally disturbed voyeurs around us, not for any real news.

My mind can’t even comprehend what the victim’s families, friends, survivors, and fellow students are going through. They, like us, go about living and by pure arbitrary chance some sick, evil kid, who wants to blame the world for his inability to deal with the world - decides to target them.
After listening to so many stories on NPR, news shows, talking heads, etc. it all leaves me confused of how to even look for signs that might prevent anything like this from happening in my own life, let alone understand it. It all just makes me even more frustrated and mentally exhausted.
Evil people exist – that’s the reality. Everybody deals with pain, anger, frustration, and hardships in life – it’s all how you deal with it. A small minority can’t deal, but they don’t kill. This one did.

As with anything you have some politicians, talking heads, screamers, “the experts”, etc. blaming everything in the world ---school, guns, teachers, psychologists, police, students, culture, video games, parents --- everything but the kid. But the one that really disturbed me was South Korea’s apology and the Korean community’s fear of a racial backlash - that one just baffles me. As if him being Korean had anything to do with it - are you kidding!?

I’ve now come to the conclusion that I’m ignoring the media on this. If I see it or hear it, I’m switching the station (or site). Yes, it was a tragedy – my heart breaks for anybody even remotely involved. The only good thing was the kid made a good choice taking his own life (I wish he would have just done that in the first place- I know that might be a horrible thing to say for some, but honestly I don’t think he wanted to be helped.) I can’t even imagine the media spectacle if he not killed himself.
Not sure if everybody feels the same way, or just me. Now excuse me, I have a wife and daughter who need me.


carrie said...

I couldn't agree more.


Be Inspired Always said...

Thank you. You said exactly what I have been feeling, just couldn't find the words for it and I couldn't agree more.

Back to the family.


mamatulip said...

The blame game is what gets me. That and the consistent, over-the-top, sensational coverage.

I hadn't heard that about the South Korean community. That just makes me ache.

junebee said...

I'm with you. At least he had the common courtesy to kill himself and save the taxpayers the expense of maintaining him in jail and prison, defending him via public defender, etc.

Kate said...

I whole heartedly agree. Frankly I haven't followed the media coverage for that very reason. Not because I don't care, but because it's always a phony melodramatic spectacle.

I felt similarly about the media coverage with 9/11. AND the public's reaction, specifically to the actual site. It really drove me crazy when they built the deck overlooking the gaping hole in the street so tourists could see the site. And then they were taking pictures of themselves at the site! How morbid and crazy is that??

Goggles Piasano Ritardo said...

I agree. Whats more ironic is the media reporting on the media frenzy. Lets see how much more they can milk it. I predicted after the incident that they would drag it out for two months. NBC decided to only release a few clips at a time. Sick bastards.

Anonymous said...

The answer to why NBC showed the video is the ratings they got that night. Makes you wonder who wanted to watch it.

The Real Mother Hen said...

South Korea apologizes because the media singled him out as a South Korean! Yes, printed in black-and-white referring him as "South Korean Student"! He's American for God's sake. He attended schools here and learnt his 2nd Amendment rights as all other American kids! He knew he couldn't buy alcohol before 21, but could buy a 9mm at 22! A

nd the media - well we're trained to REACT, not being proactive. So we won't hear experts demanding a change to the 2nd Amendment, but we see the sick clips, over and over again!

Welcome to America!

MommasWorld said...

There are steps actually taken in the Elementary and High School for possible "scary" behavior. Well, at least in the school districts around Washington, D.C. After the high school shoot out a few year back I noticed changes in the schools. It was almost Christmas and my son was in 6th grade. During a free study period he started making out a Christmas card list for the cards he purchased the night before. He felt so grown up at the thought of sending out his very own Christmas cards. The teacher noticed he was writing down some of his classmates names.

Before class was over he was ushered by a state policeman to the principals office and I was called to pick him up for an emergency. The school would not tell me what the emergency was so I drove to the school in full parent panic.

When I arrived at the school the principal said my son was suspended for two full weeks. I was told to take him off the premisis and not return for two weeks. I was relived he was not physically hurt but very confused as to why he was suspended. I was blocked from speaking to anyone at the school or school board in person and phone calls were not returned. Two weeks later I took him to school myself and was told "your son wrote a hit list". No one asked him why he was writing down names. At that time I was furious. Now after seeing this trend again and again in children not making out a Christmas list I am not as upset with the actions taken with my son. I do have to say there was no request for an interview with anyone from the school prior to my son returning to school. If this had been a real issue I would hope the school board or someone would speak to a returning student or require councling to re-enter the school.

Sorry for my long comment.

LBA said...

Feel exactly the same way.

He wanted to be a tough hero - he orchestrated his own media and construed the way he would look in the aftermath.

I can't believe his wishes are being granted.

I have to switch off.

Creative-Type Dad said...

MommasWorld -- That's unbelievable! I can't even believe that wouldn't tell you why?

Lisa said...

With what I've been dealing with at my son's school, this whole thing just has me infuriated. Seriously, it's not just you. The media sucks!

chanchow said...

I'm with you. I stopped watching and reading about this after a couple days. It's not surprising that the media would jump all over this and milk it for as long as possible. Movies, music, video games, comic books-- they often glorify violence. Now the networks have a reason to get in on the action.

Although I refuse to watch any more news, I would like to see a real debate on stricter gun control laws. It's time. I wouldn't worry as much about crazy people if I didn't think they could buy guns.

wayabetty said...

Tony, that was very well said! I'm glad somebody is on the same wavelength as us. The guy snapped! Plain and simple. The experts are killing me with their suggestions.

The news is not like it used to be, it's all so trashy and sensationalism. I can't believe that NBC actually put out that tape of the lunatic. They are as insane as the killer.

Anonymous said...

Tony, you have just effectively illustrated why I dropped out of the media community and resigned my job as television reporter.

I just didn't have the stomach for it. The media is supposed to be delegate news and inform the public, not sensationalize the tragedies that happen.

My stomach was not strong enough, nor my soul for the politics of journalism.

My heart breaks for those families being mobbed by the press under the premise of "news."

Creative-Type Dad said...

Redneck Mommy -- I wish sane people would run the media. It's so sad what its become.

kittenpie said...

I had not heard about the fears of the Korean community. How horrible. Because let's face it - it's not Korean society that made this happen. School shootings are a feature of North America and occasionally Europe.

To be honest, I think he would be immortalized without the playing of his message, though I agree that that was a poor decision, one based on sensationalizing and getting ratings. But really? Who has forgotten the Columbine boys, or for that matter, Kip Kinkel? There is a fascination for the crazy and macabre, be it serial killers or mass killers, that will make him famous one way or another. Sadly, but then, perhaps it would be equally sad if we just forgot about these things. Hard to know.