I just watched NBC Nightly News and can’t tell you how outraged I am. They showed long clips in which the killer, Cho Seung-Hui, explained why he committed the massacre at Virgnia Tech. Essentially, he said that he felt marginalized and this was his way of responding to his anger. He sees himself as a martyr for marginalized youth everywhere.
Clearly, his video is nonsense and any rational person immediately sees Cho for the senseless killer that he is. But I have no idea why NBC News would play this video knowing full well that there’s a large group of young people out there who also feel marginalized and who are not always thinking rationally. Doesn’t NBC News realize that they may be spreading horrific ideas in the minds of other mentally ill young people? What if his video resonates with young people who are looking for an outlet to express their anger?
I have been deeply saddened by the horrific events at Virgnia Tech. Our organization has a lot of wonderful student members at VT and we were working with them to put on a whole week of climate change events leading up to Earth Day. Then, I woke up Monday morning shocked and terrified by the massacre. I personally think NBC News should focus on telling the stories of the victims in this case and not give this cold-blooded murderer the exact attention he wanted — playing his video to millions of marginalized young people precisely as he has asked for them to do. Why grant this killer his dying wish? Why would NBC do this?
My guess is NBC thinks playing this exclusive video (with a big NBC label on the upper left hand corner of it) is good for ratings. So, I would encourage you not to watch NBC any more so they have no doubt in the future that showing these videos will hurt, rather than help, their ratings. And be sure to e-mail them to let them know why you’re tuning them out. My wife, a loyal NBC viewer, just sent them this note:
“As a former employee of the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center, I normally believe that what journalists do is good for America, and that the more the public knows, the better off we all are. I have also made a point of tuning in for NBC Nightly News nearly every day for the last three years, not to mention Meet the Press and other news specials. I have long believed that you have the best reporting team on network TV.
However, NBC’s decision to broadcast footage from Cho Seung-Hui is disgraceful, dangerous, and morally reprehensible. How could you give the killer this final victory? How could you haunt the survivors with these horrific images? And how could you provide footage that might fuel copycat murders? (Cho Seung-Hui himself referred to the Columbine killers.) I cannot believe that you aired this.
Your decision to broadcast Cho Seung-Hui’s footage demonstrates a selfish desire to do anything for ratings. You might have reported on the footage and described it, but the fact that you actually showed it–even in part–simply empowers the killer and puts the rest of us in greater danger of copycat murders.
I am sorry to say that, starting tomorrow, I will no longer tune in to NBC Nightly News. I want no part in your network’s outrageous bid for ratings.”