And another thing. NBC seemed completely dismissive of the idea that airing these self-glorifying images would encourage copycat shootings, just as Cho had copycatted the Columbine killers. In Time magazine's look back at the shootings, Jeffrey Kluger nailed this point: "It may be uncomfortable for any journalist to admit it, but the flood-the-zone coverage that usually follows mass murders simply confirms a potential killer's belief that what he sees as his small and inconsequential life can end on a large and monstrous chord, even if he won't be around to enjoy the transformation."
-- I'll grant you that possibility. But isn't the opposite also true? Isn't it about time the public get a front-row seat to reality? So many reporters were assuming, without a shred of evidence, that he was "deranged" and "troubled" and "sick." It was nothing of the sort. He was evil. Satan exists. It's high time the public awoke to this truth. If airing the video shocks (and sickens) the public enough, then NBC has done something good.
-- By that logic, then, NBC should air everything it captures on film. It certainly had access to stomach-turning video of the victims themselves. Should we have seen all the blood, the brains blown out and the rest?
-- But by your logic NBC shouldn't run anything that might offend, and that's simply untenable. I'm suggesting this was newsworthy, and this was necessary. Having said that, I'm in complete agreement that its airing should also have been limited.
-- How would you have accomplished that?
-- Three ways. First, I'd air enough of the video to tell the story, and not one second more. Second, I'd limit the times I would air it. I might air it only once. Third, I'd decline to share it with the other networks.
-- And you'd be opening three more cans of worms in the process, and you know that.
-- Which is why sometimes it is impossible to make the right call in this business.