Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Plea to the Media in Light of the Newtown, Connecticut Tragedy

 Like so many of you this week, my heart is broken. The news of the terrible events from Friday that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut have hit me hard. I cannot watch the news without openly crying, and I have yet to hug my own kids as they are away from me this weekend. There are simply no words to describe how any of us feel right now, except perhaps, incredulity as to the reason why this happened.

Ever since CNN set the standard during Desert Storm, the media gold standard has been to report the news as it is occurring. As you are all painfully aware, every media organization is on location reporting the details as they become known. This is the second most violent act of its kind, second only to the Virginia Tech mass shooting in April 2007. One question resonates regardless of which news team or which witness is being interviewed: Why? The shooter's actions, life, friends and family are being scrutinized to find the answer to that question on all our minds.

But, really, does it matter what the answer is? Does it matter why he did this? Is there any reason that could be uncovered that would make this tragedy any more bearable or less painful or any easier for our nation or the rest of the world watching to understand? No, there is not. It wouldn't matter if he was bullied as a child, or if his mother was a monster, or if he was mentally ill. So why bother ask the question?

It is human nature to try to understand, and it is what we do in the wake of a crisis like this one. So of course we ask the question and seek as much information and details as we can. But the shooter does not DESERVE our inquiry. He does not deserve our consideration that he had any reason, no matter how twisted, to commit this horendous act. He does not even deserve his NAME being mentioned or his face being shown, not by any of us, and not by the media.

My plea today, my request to the media is this: Make a conscious choice not to highlight who the people are who choose these evil acts. Report the details, but choose not to report the name, or show the face of anyone who chooses these acts. I can't help but believe that these shooters who do these horrible things do so not only knowing they will not come out of it alive, but also believing they will live on in infamy. Granted, I am no psychologist, but I believe the publicity only encourages the next nut job to carry out his insane fantasies. Let's make the choice as a society to stop giving them this immortality through infamy. Frankly, as much as I want to know the answer to "why," it is not worth giving the shooter what he sought.

ABC, CBS. CNN. NBC, FOX, and all other media outlets, PLEASE stop mentioning these people's names and showing their faces.


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