Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Aurora Shootings - media aftermath

How to write about this without seeming callous or wading into melodrama? I could just not mention it at all, but I still think it important to point out the reactions the media has to such events.

Callous-time - with a world population of 7,000,000,000 at some point someone is going to freak out and start shooting. It probably happens more than we know occurring in places without easy access to media and without the media's thrill [shudder] of either the victims being young or tangentially attached to celebrity.

In 2009 I wrote a piece on Charlies Brooker's Newswipe that dealt with a school shooting and what the media shouldn't be doing. Have they learned? Of course not. Once again we can go through the list item by item and tie them exactly to the coverage.

Then it's time for the blame game. In order to play you must study the life of the perpetrator and locate some activity they've performed that you (and more importantly your target audience) dislike or disapprove of then focus intently on that as being the cause of the shooting. Don't like violent films - go for the film connection; violent games - I bet he played them. Was he religious? If he wasn't or it was some minor sect closer examination is needed; if he was a prominent member of a major sect - shush that's obviously got nothing to do with it.

Hell if you're a serious conspiracy liberal-hater you could probably pin it on him going to university (who knows what sort of rubbish they filled his head with). On the other side of the fence? Blame gun-culture.

When playing the blame game it's important that at all times you ignore the many, many other people who perform that activity and don't shoot people. Simply stating that he was disturbed that it may have been any number of factors which set him off doesn't make for a nice simple story to feed the masses.

In the meantime flash his picture up; shout his name and make him famous; because in these 'I wannabe famous times' that's going to have no effect on anyone is it?

NB I have deliberately not linked to news stories. I have deliberately not mentioned his name; nor the film's No photos; no detailed biography. Because he doesn't deserve it. Put him on trial find him guilty, (if the evidence supports that verdict) and lock him up. Don't hype him.