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A Modest Proposal: Prevent Copycats

pudge (3605) writes | more than 6 years ago

United States 12

Everyone from Hugh Hewitt to Sarah Brady have said that the news should not have published the pictures and audio and video from Cho, the VT shooter, because it might encourage "copycats."

I think this principle should be generalized. All news about crazy people harming others should be suppressed, that others do not follow in their footsteps.

Hence, from this day forth, I propose that the news media do not report on anything government is doing.

Everyone from Hugh Hewitt to Sarah Brady have said that the news should not have published the pictures and audio and video from Cho, the VT shooter, because it might encourage "copycats."

I think this principle should be generalized. All news about crazy people harming others should be suppressed, that others do not follow in their footsteps.

Hence, from this day forth, I propose that the news media do not report on anything government is doing.

12 comments

Cho (1)

Talinom (243100) | more than 6 years ago | (#18874869)

I would have donated the entire package, wrapping and box included, to the American Psychiatric Association so they could have a case study of one first class idiot. You get kudos from the medial field, kudos from the families and friends of the victims as well as providing a nice steaming cup of STFU to all of the people who wanted full access.

Sometimes good publicity is more valuable than good ratings.

Re:Cho (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 6 years ago | (#18875681)

I would have donated the entire package, wrapping and box included, to the American Psychiatric Association so they could have a case study of one first class idiot. You get kudos from the medial field, kudos from the families and friends of the victims as well as providing a nice steaming cup of STFU to all of the people who wanted full access.

Sometimes good publicity is more valuable than good ratings.
I don't care about ratings. I don't care about the actual content (again, I've not seen or heard any of it except for four second on the local news). I just see no reason to prevent full access to anyone, and have yet to hear a decent argument in favor of that view.

Re:Cho (1)

Talinom (243100) | more than 6 years ago | (#18876083)

I just see no reason to prevent full access to anyone, and have yet to hear a decent argument in favor of that view.

There is no decent argument in favor of that. Arguments require facts. This is a "feeling" based issue. People tend to get offended by everything now. Airing the video pisses off some of the relatives of the victims and a whole bunch of people who are "feeling" for those families. Not airing the video pisses off people who want to see, or at least access to, the news (you and me for example). In a feeling based arena the "needs" of the few outweigh the needs of the many.

Yes this is wrong and yes I don't like it, however that seems to be todays reality. As an example, if the package was mailed to FOX News instead of NBC could there have been a correct decision?

Copycat violence is one reason stated for keeping the video hidden. I feel that those who are copycats were probably close to going off of the deep end anyway. A simple video isn't going to change things much either way.

The steaming cup of STFU could now be delivered by the APA, but I feel that they would make the decision to release it. After all healthy people immune to this sort of thing causing them to flip out and most people are healthy, right?

Re:Cho (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 6 years ago | (#18876379)

is no decent argument in favor of that. Arguments require facts. This is a "feeling" based issue. People tend to get offended by everything now. Airing the video pisses off some of the relatives of the victims and a whole bunch of people who are "feeling" for those families.
Yep. I like what the NBC President said the other day, that sometimes good journalistic decisions are not good PR decisions.

Yes this is wrong and yes I don't like it, however that seems to be todays reality. As an example, if the package was mailed to FOX News instead of NBC could there have been a correct decision?
Hehehe, good point.

Copycat violence is one reason stated for keeping the video hidden. I feel that those who are copycats were probably close to going off of the deep end anyway. A simple video isn't going to change things much either way.
Absolutely. The act itself may trigger copycats, but not the videos (at least not in any predictable way). For all we know, NOT showing the video could trigger a copycat.

getting ridiculous (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 6 years ago | (#18875467)

I think this principle should be generalized. All news about crazy people harming others should be suppressed,...

Then you're generalizing the wrong principle. Copycats tend to materialize over uniquely and excessively disturbing incidents, not every day occurrences.

Don't be mad that everyone disagrees with you on this overall issue. Maybe it just means you're wrong.

Re:getting ridiculous (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 6 years ago | (#18875641)

Don't be mad that everyone disagrees with you on this overall issue. Maybe it just means you're wrong.
I am not mad.

And I would consider that I am wrong if one person had one actual argument against my view. No one does.

Re:getting ridiculous (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 6 years ago | (#18877835)

There are no arguments. Reason cannot be applied to every single issue. Some are a matter of judgment, and wisdom. Take, for example, the "Dr. Laura" radio show. People call up with familial problems, and ask her advice. She says do this or don't do that. There's no convincing that could possibly be performed via logic. Presumably she's drawing on experience and/or intuition. Most people strongly think that parading all the sick details of this guy in front of the public has a dreadfully good chance of inciting copycats (like, I think, that NASA contractor). We can't "prove" it, so if that's what you're looking for, I'm not waiting up.

Re:getting ridiculous (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 6 years ago | (#18878143)

There are no arguments. Reason cannot be applied to every single issue. Some are a matter of judgment, and wisdom.
I don't know how to separate "reason" from "judgment" or "wisdom." I don't think it is possible.

Take, for example, the "Dr. Laura" radio show. People call up with familial problems, and ask her advice. She says do this or don't do that. There's no convincing that could possibly be performed via logic. Presumably she's drawing on experience and/or intuition.
... which lead her, via reason, to some sort of conclusion or idea.

Most people strongly think that parading all the sick details of this guy in front of the public has a dreadfully good chance of inciting copycats (like, I think, that NASA contractor).
That is a reason ... it's just a very poor one, because there's no significant evidence to suggest it is true. I could say that parading those details has a dreadfully good chance of curing cancer.

We can't "prove" it, so if that's what you're looking for, I'm not waiting up.
I don't need proof. I just need some justification. And without it, I won't consider the notion rational or worthwhile.

If people just said "I don't want to see it because it makes me or other people feel bad," fine. That is reasonable. But because people can't expect that to actually change behavior, instead, we are told all of these pseudorational reasons to get us to act the way they want us to.

It's a lot like the climate change scientists who literally lie and say that manmade climate change is an indisputable fact. They know their other arguments are not convincing enough, so they lie to get people to change their behavior. I am not saying anyone (least of all you!) in regards to Cho is lying, of course, only that I think the real point for most people is not what is being said (afraid of copycats), but that they simply don't like it, and they realize that this is not convincing enough so they come up with something else.

Re:getting ridiculous (1)

ces (119879) | more than 6 years ago | (#18877523)

The only way to prevent copycats would be to report NO news on the VT killings.

I don't think that releasing the videos greatly increases the likelyhood of copycats over reporting the incident in the first place.

Re:getting ridiculous (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 6 years ago | (#18877639)

The only way to prevent copycats would be to report NO news on the VT killings.

I don't think that releasing the videos greatly increases the likelyhood of copycats over reporting the incident in the first place.
Indeed.

The real disappointment (1)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 6 years ago | (#18885703)

I think we should press them to release it under an Open Source license so that it can be combined with the GNU/Linux system. IMO, they released it, but they weren't near open enough.

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