Don’t Start The Story With Sirens Blaring: How The Media Makes A Killer

7 Feb

3rd. article in our series on “Gun Violence in the Media.”

Sandy Hook, Columbine, the Aurora theater shootings.  We think they only happen here because they are blown up in the media which in turn may make others go out and kill.  The media makes these shootings into 24/7 coverage and gives the shooters a big ego.  How does the media help stop this?  According to  forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Park Dietz, these are some things NOT to do in media coverage.

1) Don’t start the story with sirens blaring.

2) Don’t have photographs of the shooter.

3)Don’t make the coverage 24/7.

4)Don’t make the body count the first thing people hear.

5)Don’t make the shooter an anti-hero.

However, Dr. Dietz does say DO make the story as boring as possible in every other market and keep it to the localized community only.

Given the need for ratings, do you think the media will ever follow these guidelines?

http://www.upworthy.com/how-the-media-coverage-of-mass-shootings-makes-everything-worse

Please also view: UK Guns and Knives & the Roles They Play in the Media

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77 Responses to “Don’t Start The Story With Sirens Blaring: How The Media Makes A Killer”

  1. Open Book February 7, 2013 at 3:29 PM #

    I can’t even tell u how thrilled I am to finally hear someone finally blame the media. I would not watch the news for weeks after the shootings because of how they report on these shooters. The reporter in the video (u provided above) really demonstrates the ridiculousness of it all in how the news makes these shooters into celebrities. I can’t wait to discuss this. Great topic Paris.

  2. Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 6:01 PM #

    Thanks a lot Paris,

    You’ve done an excellent job of demonstrating how predictable this ritual is. A thing you can’t help but ask (after seeing this kind of performance again and again) is…

    1.) Why aren’t we told where to send flowers, register condolences, send money,or intervene in any way to help the victims.

    2.) We never hear EXACTLY how many people and who are working to medically, legally, financially, resolve the incident?

    3.) What chain of events occurred so that the news media became aware of the event?

    4.) Though we frequently hear about medical personnel and police, we rarely hear how local gun merchants or NRA lobbyists, respond to this news?

    5.) What did activist groups predict regarding this kind of event?

    5.) What numbers can be called, what centers can be visited, and what resources can be donated to offer assistance to people who have been hurt?

    Paris, why do you believe the news media discourages the audience from taking any action?

    • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 7:26 PM #

      CR- These are all very responsible questions. At what point did the news stop being of public service to consumers?

      • Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 7:35 PM #

        OB,

        I think our part of the game is we have to sit there, eyes and mouths wide open (as usual doing nothing). Then we’re supposed to lament how bad things have gotten and wait for the next tragic event.

        I think we have to take credit for our role in the cycle.

        • ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 7:41 PM #

          I really like #4!

  3. Open Book February 7, 2013 at 7:09 PM #

    Hi Everyone!

  4. Open Book February 7, 2013 at 7:11 PM #

    Paris-

    U Said: “Given the need for ratings, do you think the media will ever follow these guidelines?”

    A: Yes, I think if people stop watching and start complaining they will.

    • Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 7:14 PM #

      Hi Openbook.

  5. ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 7:17 PM #

    Hello Everyone!

    Interesting article Paris! It’s one I haven’t really given much conscious thought to.

    • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 7:22 PM #

      Hi Ozzie & CR

      • ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 7:25 PM #

        Hi OB and CR! 🙂

    • Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 7:28 PM #

      I’m amazed how powerless these videos make me feel.



      • ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 8:52 PM #

        First video: Why don’t they let the lieutenant do his job instead of bugging him for information. It made me sick and angry!

        Second Video: I nearly cried. Hearing the 911 calls and seeing cctv footage breaks my heart. I cannot begin to imagine what it was like to be there that day. Again the news outlets asking for information made me angry and sick for the same reasons as above.

    • Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 7:30 PM #

      Hi Ozzie.

    • Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 8:29 PM #

      Ozzie,

      “…haven’t really given much conscious thought to…”

      You’re in especially good company, obviously the media and American law enforcement system hasn’t either.

      • ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 8:41 PM #

        ROTFLMAO! 🙂

  6. Open Book February 7, 2013 at 7:22 PM #

    What amazes me is that both CNN and others were told by forensic psychologist not to show these shooters faces on the news. Yet, they ignore their advice and warning. Given this fact do u think these news outlets should be penalized and be forced to pay a fine?

    • parisienne February 7, 2013 at 7:28 PM #

      OB,

      I don’t know what could be done besides the public writing in and saying they don’t want to see. Controversy makes money, the news outlets aren’t going to allow their cash flow to stop. IMO

      • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 7:34 PM #

        That’s true, but perhaps if they had to pay a fine and had to pay the victims the money they made off the ratings this would stop. I know I’m really dreaming but I think if the media had to pay then it would stop.

    • Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 7:36 PM #

      OB,

      I agree they should be fined.

    • ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 7:39 PM #

      Wow, they were actually told that? I don’t think that’s ever happened here. Not that I would know anyway, I don’t watch alot of news because it either depresses me or makes me angry, lol.

      I think if the goverment passed a law stating that or there was some kind of code added to a the guidelines a regulating body set, then yes they should be fined. Until that happens then some kind of donation could be made as a kind of moral compensation. I doubt they would do that either.

      • Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 7:44 PM #

        Ozzie,

        Welcome to the wild west where everything goes and no one is responsible for what they do or cause.

        • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 7:48 PM #

          The video Paris provided was from a mass shooting that took place in Germany and its from the BBC.

          • Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 7:58 PM #

            Well we have to have someone to shame us (the USA) into responsible behavior.

            • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 8:07 PM #

              OMGosh, the news in the US would never admit to wrong doing. Please!!

              • ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 8:15 PM #

                I will have to watch them. I would of done so earlier but I wanted to catch up with your article (sorry, I missed it. The past 2 -3 days I’ve been so tired)!

                • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 8:18 PM #

                  Oh! No problem Oz!

                  • ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 8:35 PM #

                    Thank you! *hugs*

                    I’ve watched the video now. It was interesting to see the forensic psychologist explain things and cut away to examples. It was also interesting to see just how much had been reported. Ping pong and arm wrestling? Really? Wow! Anyway, it’s opened my eyes. I can see how something that I would consider normal reporting (and something I usually get sick of soon and turn it off. I know I said it before but ping pong and arm wrestling? Click, tv turned off!), could give someone with mental health problems inspiration to be noticed.

                    Kind of OT, I love Charlie Brooker. Sarcastic, spot on and I usually almost agree to everything he says.

        • parisienne February 7, 2013 at 7:49 PM #

          ITA

      • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 7:47 PM #

        Yes, in Paris video above. The forensic psychologist said he warned CNN and others repeatedly not to show the shooters faces etc.. The report was from a shooting that took place in Germany and it was from the BBC.

      • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 8:00 PM #

        Ozzie-

        U Said: “Until that happens then some kind of donation could be made as a kind of moral compensation.”

        A: That’s an excellent idea!!!

        • ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 8:37 PM #

          Thanks! Unfortunately this isn’t an ideal world. Alot of people lack morals. 😦

  7. parisienne February 7, 2013 at 7:24 PM #

    Hi Everyone!

    FYI: I’m really sick so I’ll be here as long as I can.

    • ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 7:26 PM #

      Oh no! *Big hugs* I hope you get better soon! 🙂

      • parisienne February 7, 2013 at 7:28 PM #

        Thanks Ozzie!

    • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 7:29 PM #

      Ah! U poor thing. Do what u need to do to get better. Here’s a big hug and some cyber herbal tea to help u feel better.

      • parisienne February 7, 2013 at 7:32 PM #

        oh thank you!

        • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 7:49 PM #

          U are welcome. I’ll even throw in some cyber brandy for u as well. Hahaha!

          • parisienne February 7, 2013 at 7:50 PM #

            Now you’re bringing on the good stuff!

            • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 7:56 PM #

              Haha! I like making cocktails.

              • parisienne February 7, 2013 at 8:00 PM #

                🙂

                • ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 8:54 PM #

                  How about some ginger biscuits? I make some mean ginger snaps!

  8. parisienne February 7, 2013 at 7:31 PM #

    CR,

    Those videos are supposed to make the public feel powerless, IMO. By subconsciously removing an individuals right to their own power the media/government make it easier to control them. We are only shown what they want us to see.

    • Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 7:41 PM #

      Paris,

      I agree but what can we do?

      Of course there are way too many ways to (re)victimize those who have been traumatized. I have never been in any of those situations but I assume having video cameras in your face probably is not empowering.

      • parisienne February 7, 2013 at 7:48 PM #

        Read this: http://forcechange.com/53895/stop-harassment-of-sandy-hook-hero/

        • Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 7:53 PM #

          Paris,

          You are absolutely right, I think many are so desparate for relief or a rest from the carnage they are actually blaming the victims.

          • parisienne February 7, 2013 at 7:55 PM #

            The “truthers” have been around since colonial times. They are basically a group of people that if they don’t like something the will tell their own version of the truth and bully others into believing the same thing.

            • parisienne February 7, 2013 at 7:56 PM #

              They remind me a lot of KS’s fans. LOL Sorry had to throw that in there.

              • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 7:57 PM #

                True!

            • parisienne February 7, 2013 at 8:00 PM #

              http://dianeravitch.net/2013/01/24/snopes-deconstructs-the-sandy-hook-truther-hoax/

              There’s a comment in there about the truthers being from Colonial times. I watched a program on them once and can’t find it now.

              • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 8:04 PM #

                What the heck are these people smoking?????? Now, these truthers people want to compete for crazy with the shooter.

                • parisienne February 7, 2013 at 8:06 PM #

                  They make the shooter look sane.

                  • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 8:08 PM #

                    Really! Now u have crazy people trying to compete with other crazy people. I hope the news media aren’t putting their pictures up?

                    • parisienne February 7, 2013 at 8:09 PM #

                      I don’t think so.

            • ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 9:25 PM #

              OMG, truthers! I love them yet hate them too. They can be funny to watch arguing and coming up with the most insane theories. Yet they can go too far. There’s one site I look at from time to time for entertainment. I saw this theory and had to close the page after reading a few posts. It was just too much. I nearly threw up. They also say the same thing about 9/11. I don’t care if you believe there was a conspiracy theory that’s your prerogative, but don’t go as far as to say very few people died and the rest were “VicSims” meaning not only actors but dummys and digitally simulated people. I fume whenever I read something like that.

              I find most people who think like this can’t handle the truth (which is normal way of coping with something to some degree). I saw a quote somewhere that summed it up perfectly but I can’t remember where I saw it. It said something like because so much carnage and horror is carried out by a simple source, it seems too big for people to handle. How could one gun man or group of poorly trained terrorists do so much damage? It must involve a bigger more nefarious monster! But the reality is that day for those who commited the crime were lucky. People are fallible. Budgets only go so far. Eventually someone or some group will slip through the net. A small series of slip ups can grow into something terrible.

              I applaud anyone who sets out to seek answers, to find information themselves, to think for themselves etc. But some people can cross a point and become just as stubborn and deluded as people who don’t. They get to a point where they stop being the open minded, free thinking people they wanted to be and burry their heads in the sand, refusing to listen to any other theory or reason.

              Sorry for the rant. These type of Ignorant and insensitive truthers rile me up the wrong way.

        • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 7:53 PM #

          OMGOsh! This is insane.

    • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 7:43 PM #

      This is true. Why do u think the news no longer provides a public service to the consumer and now want to terrorize them? Do u think the news should not use NRA advertising to pay the bills so consumers can be informed instead of assaulted?

      • Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 7:50 PM #

        OB,

        What I think is sick is these emotionally disturbed people are clearly interested in getting attention yet who do theyget it from; people who are supposed to be well-adjusted, same, and responsible.

        • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 7:59 PM #

          CR- What amount of money should the news be responsible for paying? Would u say each time they show the shooters picture they get fined 1 million?

          • Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 8:14 PM #

            Paying other’s therapy bills might be more meaningful plus you never know when that necessity will end.

            • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 8:16 PM #

              Therapy bills I like that.

              • ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 9:26 PM #

                I like it too!

  9. Open Book February 7, 2013 at 8:15 PM #

    People are talking about the gun laws needing to be reformed but what about the news media? Why aren’t people asking for it to be reformed?

  10. parisienne February 7, 2013 at 8:16 PM #

    Everyone,

    I’m going to go for the evening. Thanks for chatting with me.

    • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 8:17 PM #

      Goodnight Paris. Feel better!!

      • Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 8:18 PM #

        Good night.

        • Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 8:20 PM #

          And if you can get lots of sleep.

          • ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 9:31 PM #

            Night Paris! I hope you feel better soon. 🙂

  11. Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 8:16 PM #

    I guess it would be biased or unfair not to recognize that many are fully committed to sustaining the world of terror we are talking about.

    KeepAndBearArms.com
    Guns And Ammo Magazine
    Guns And Ammo Magazine
    Gun Owners of America
    Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
    Second Amendment Foundation
    Women Against Gun Control

  12. Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 8:17 PM #

    Surprisingly and fortunately the websites that are more against than for have higher records for traffic.

    Million Mom March
    Center to Prevent Handgun Violence
    Coalition to Stop Handgun Violence
    Second Amendment Sisters
    Americans For Gun Safety
    National Shooting Sports Foundation

    http://www.keepandbeararms.com/newsarchives/XcNewsPlus.asp?cmd=view&articleid=2666

    • Open Book February 7, 2013 at 8:20 PM #

      CR- Have u seen any petitions to reform the US news media?

      • Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 8:22 PM #

        I have not looked extensively, but I’m sure some are out there.

        • ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 9:30 PM #

          Be carefull! You may come across the White House petition to bring in a media reform by a certain someone’s fan base…. Eek!

  13. Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 8:23 PM #

    I’ll look around and hopefully post them by the time of my article.

  14. Open Book February 7, 2013 at 8:23 PM #

    Everyone-

    I’m going to call it a night. Thank u Paris, get well soon.

    Goodnight!

  15. Comic Relief February 7, 2013 at 8:31 PM #

    Good night.

  16. ozzie20 February 7, 2013 at 9:33 PM #

    Night from me too. It’s been a good discussion! 🙂

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