News Outlets: ABC, CNN, MSNBC, HuffPost, New York Times: Boston Marathon Bombing: Do NOT Glamorize the Perpetrator with Overcoverage
The explosions at the Boston Marathon were a tragedy. A event traditionally marked by pride and accomplishment ended in terror and bloodshed. Two are dead and many wounded. ABC now confirms that the explosions were caused intentionally by two bombs.
It seems like mass violence in America is becoming more and more common. One thing that has bothered me in cases from Sandy Hook to Aurora to Columbine is the media's obsessive coverage of every detail of the criminal's life. By reporting on the criminal's entire life story - instead of the things wich are relevant to the case, such as the evidence and the punishment - they glamorize the perpetrator. They make him famous, the name on everyone's lips. His friends and family are interviewed, his house is on TV, his face is on the cover of every magazine. Meanwhile, those the criminals hurt most are often forgotten to history.
Gavin de Becker is a leading specialist on crime and security in America, wrote about this phenomenon in his book "The Gift of Fear". He wrote that such coverage of mass criminals may be what inspired them to commit violence in the first place.
When covering the violence at the Boston Marathon, and the man, woman, or group that organized it, please do not glamorize them. Tell us who they are, what evidence there is, perhaps what their motivation was, and what justice they will face. If you want to tell a poignant, personal story about someone - focus on the vicitms, those who were killed or injured. THEY are the ones who deserve to have their faces on TV and the magazines. THEY were the ones who either participated in an amazing athletic event, or came to celebrate the athletes, only to have their lives torn apart. We need to support them and show that we care more about them than the psychopath who did this.
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