To Air or Not to Air: The Cho Multimedia Manifesto

In 1975, Squeaky Fromme tried to assassinate Gerald Ford.   A Manson follower, she wanted to give old Charlie the opportunity to testify at her trial and spread his message to the world, knowing that it would be covered by the global media community.

If only she had a digital camera and the address of NBC...   that would have made mass distribution of hate much easier.

"After much debate", NBC decided to run clips (of course, spread out over time to get ratings) of the Virginia Tech killer's "Multimedia Manifesto" on national and online broadcasts. 

Right...  As if there was even a chance that NBC wouldn't have posted as much of this "news" as possible.  The twisted reality of human nature is that I'm sure NBC execs can't help but feel a just a little bit lucky it was them that got the video, not Fox, or *gasp* YouTube.  (We all probably would have if we worked there, despite the obviously tragic nature of the events.)  Score one for the peacock.  Because whereas 30 unfortunate students at VT accidently stepped on a landmine, NBC accidently fell into a goldmine.

Explain this logic to me.  If NBC Sports covered a baseball or football game, and someone ran out onto the field naked, they would go out of their way not to record the idiot so as not to encourage that kind of behavior.

Yet, the ravings of a lunatic who clearly references the Columbine killers by name that he learned, that we all learned, through the media...  that goes right up into the ether for mass consumption.

How can we justify the airing of this video as news?  Is this informative?  It's hard to argue that this won't encourage other troubled kids looking to lash out against the world. 

Kill as many people as you can, send the video to NBC, and become an insta-martyr.  It's that simple.

This is becoming a multimedia car-accident in the worst way...   and onlookers of car accidents often get into accidents of their own as they watch. 

Does the media encourage people to kill?  No...  but does the behavior of the media and borderline glorification of killers 'cause people to want to make a bigger splash--to go out in a blaze of glory killing off as many people as possible...  I gotta say its an awfully compelling argument. 

Isn't this kind of hate poisoning our airwaves worse than what Imus said... or hey, at least as bad? 

This kid committed this act knowing full well the scope of media attention this would draw.   He didn't kill 30 people out of blind rage.  He did it as a calculated statement to the world that he knew we'd all jump at the chance to broadcast.  It's not just NBC.  It's all of us.  Everyone who sticks to NBC over the next few days to see more clips.  Everyone, including myself, who publishes about it.  We are a media machine and Cho Seung-Hui is playing us like a violin.