Breaking News from NBC News, JUL 24 2015, 2:48 AM ET
A gunman killed two people and wounded nine others after opening fire Thursday night at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, police said.
Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said the 58-year-old white man used a handgun and later took his own life. Dee Stanley, chief administrative officer of the city about 50 miles southwest of Baton Rouge, told MSNBC TV that some of the wounded were in "very critical" condition with life-threatening injuries. [...]Sooner or later the American public will make the connection between public shooting rampages and the way the American news media reports on them. Until then, all I can think to do is keep repeating myself -- and Ari Schulman's article for the Wall Street Journal.
As to whether it would do any good to boycott the major corporations that prop up the media outlets -- the people who run the corporations don't strike me as paragons of integrity because there's no way they are unaware of the connection between saturation media coverage and the rampage killings.
But if there's enough publicity linking their brands to the rampage shootings, it's possible the companies could bring pressure on the media outlets to stop encouraging the killers. On the other hand the saturation media coverage of mass killings helps sell products.
So I think it would have to be a very large and sustained boycott, and I'm not sure Americans are ready to go that route. Yet. Maybe after another 10 or 20 mass killings in the United States they'll be ready.
But the present administration is not very helpful, either. It's refusing to discuss the role of news media in promoting mass killings because it wants the discussion to be about gun control. And because it doesn't want to bite the hand that feeds it.
As I've done before, I've extracted the eight-point plan from Schulman's WSJ article for creating responsible media coverage of a mass murder and feature it as preface:
Aside from the act itself, there is no greater aim for the mass killer than to see his own grievances broadcast far and wide. Many shooters directly cite the words of prior killers as inspiration. In 2007, the forensic psychiatrist Michael Welner told "Good Morning America" that the Virginia Tech shooter's self-photos and videotaped ramblings were a "PR tape" that was a "social catastrophe" for NBC News to have aired.
Rampage shooters crave the spotlight, and we should do everything possible to deprive them of it.
By ARI N. SCHULMAN
November 8, 2013
The Wall Street Journal
Someday soon, we are likely to awake to news of yet another rampage shooting, one that perhaps will rival the infamous events at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora and Newtown. As unknowable as the when and who and where of the next tragedy is the certainty that there will be one, and of what will follow: The tense initial hours as we watch the body count tick higher. The ashen-faced news anchors with pictures of stricken families. Stories and images of the fatal minutes. Reports on the shooter's journals and manifestos. A weary speech from the president. Debates about guns and mental health.
Underlying this grim national ritual, and the pronouncements from all quarters that mass shootings are "senseless," is the disturbing feeling that these acts are beyond our understanding. As the criminologist and forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz writes, we talk about these acts as if they arise from "alien forces." So we focus our efforts on thwarting future mass shooters—catching them through the mental health system, or making it harder for them to get guns, or making it easier for others with guns to stop them. Some enterprising minds have even suggested that schoolchildren be trained to gang-rush them.