Concern that coverage of CT shooting could inspire copycats
How should the media handle incident?
- Duration 6:29
- Date Dec 18, 2012
How should the media handle incident?
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
Right now the deadly shooting Rampage in Connecticut sparking nearly nonstop coverage by the media.
News crews from around the world are converging on the scene.
Giving the killer a level of notoriety that he certainly never had in life.
And now along with grief and sorrow for the victims there is concern that all this attention could encourage copycats.
Here's one thing that film critic Roger Ebert said in 2003 commenting on the news coverage he said.
What an unbalanced kid walks into a school and start shooting it becomes a major media event.
Cable news drops ordinary programming and and goes around the clock with that the message is clear to other disturbed kids.
If I shoot up my school.
I can become famous.
That was the case in column -- in which the killers drew some inspiration from the bombing in Oklahoma City.
In the American Psychological Association urged news outlets not to publicize the writings and video.
Of the Virginia Tech killer fearing it would spark another wave of copycats.
Let's talk about it -- Alan Colmes is host of the Alan Colmes radio show and author of thank the liberals.
For saving America.
Jim you worked in the Reagan administration I believe correct.
Yes aspect -- jump -- Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley junior.
A mentally unstable man who thought he would win the intention of Jodie Foster the actress by doing that are are the media.
Part of the problem here.
Well I mean I'm not an expert but it but did you mention the American Psychological Association which presumably.
Our experts say they said that they said exactly this they said that this is a media copycat situation and they pleaded.
To not publicize.
That the situation these -- the killer Ingrid written in Virginia Tech back and in 2007.
And frankly that advice or that suggestion wasn't even heated it was it was so badly needed in fact that the media.
Not only identified the killer -- they've -- -- by the wrong killer they got the killer's brother.
But I can remember back in 1999 in the in the column buying case -- -- your -- of that at all operatives -- -- time.
And there's a lot of movement that's -- don't mention the names of the killers.
You didn't you mention each other pictured on Saturday and don't -- many credit and that we've that was a good point then I thought and a lot of the fact that he -- adhere to that and it's been completely lost in this case I think we better get it back -- what's your take on the media part of the reason for some of these copycat crime.
I think it's hard to say and I I I think it really difficult it's a difficult situation because Jim makes a very good points about.
Whether publicity can inspire somebody to do some heinous act but on the other hand we live in an open society where the media.
Whose job it is to report the news and I don't know how the media can do its job and less the -- given the freedom to express itself and give the full story I think there's also a fascination to want to know.
Who are the people who commit these heinous crimes what -- they like what inspires them to do it what motivates them what is the mind like and it gives us a rounder picture and maybe because we know who it is and what they are thinking -- what issues may.
Go into them committing these.
We can then address them more fully so I think there's another side of this as well.
That would indicate we live in a society we get full information transparency is very important.
In our society and -- we want to void that.
Earlier this year I was in Aurora Colorado in the aftermath of the -- -- shooting massacre there.
And the governor of that state.
John Hickenlooper at the memorial service afterwards said something that -- the applause of the crowd I want to play that for you now.
Moment they got news that they got the call.
-- came through duke but dispatched.
There obviously within two and a half minutes.
And literally -- -- seconds.
They had apprehended the suspect.
And I refuse to say his name.
Obviously applause for the police and their heroism there -- but the biggest applause line came when he refused to mention the name of the guy who shot of that theater is that.
Jim an approach that maybe all of us could or should take in the future.
Yeah I get I I tend to be honest I have sympathy -- -- point of -- he's not wrong and what he says this is a transparent society in and it and you don't -- From the free press.
I I guess however.
And lest we want this to happen all the time for the rest of our lives are we better start thinking of something and the multi pass an approach would include.
Mental health and now all that all the goes without it no reason why you couldn't diagnosis this killer in Connecticut even after he's dead without mentioning his name.
I think we got to look at violent movies and we're -- look at violent video games and I think there's every everything that we did it.
To keep the country from ball a pardon going to pieces you know in the in the first half just one essentially -- -- undid the second half of the twentieth century.
And I think maybe want to go back and look at for example the Hays code in the movies.
You know there was an awful lot of misinformation in the early hours of this shooting -- -- vascular at first was 24 that he -- money.
It was the older brother and it was the younger brother the mother was a teacher at the school than she wasn't I mean it goes on and on and on is that what happens in this era of -- -- Twitter I don't think it's just a matter FaceBook and Twitter I think when you have a complicated story with new information coming in all the time and a chaotic.
This happens because.
We get information that is often wrong in this case was because of the the brother of the killer and -- and ID that was not particular to the killer.
I don't know -- you can blame it on social media but again the media's job this report what it knows what it knows it.
And then do corrective courses along the way -- necessary you don't withhold information.
You do what you go with the best information you have and if you need to do what correct you do -- as quickly and efficiently as possible all right Alan Colmes Jim finger ten good discussion and there's always.
Thank you -- you and we'll be right.