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View Full Version : Irresponsible journalism, "murder contagion"


CCWFacts
04-03-2009, 12:30 PM
Public health researchers have know about a phenomenon called suicide contagion (http://suicideandmentalhealthassociationinternational.org/suiconclust.html) or suicide clusters. In short, some people are having suicidal thoughts but may or may not act on them. Seeing reporting of other people acting on those thoughts validates the impulse and encourages suicide.

For this reason, there are long-established guidelines about how to handle news coverage of suicides (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00031539.htm). In short, the answer is, "don't cover them unless it's something that is obviously relevant news, beyond the mere fact that a suicide happened." Simply running a story like, "17 year old boy kills himself with carbon monoxide" on the front page will result in more, similar deaths. News editors who do that literally have blood on their hands, blood of people who, if they had not had validation of their impulse, would have gone through it, worked it out, and gone on to have full lives. News editors understand this well and act responsibly.

Remember a few years ago we seemed to be having a school shooting every other week? That was exactly the same phenomenon.

And right now, we're having a mass shooting every week.

And it's exactly the same phenomenon, caused by irresponsible journalists making sensational national coverage of events, validating the impulses in other people, creating a cyclical effect.

As all the gun banners are wont to say, they support responsible gun ownership. Well, ok, I support responsible freedom of the press, which is exactly what is not happening right now. CNN and ABC and all the other news outlets, which are giving overblown, extended, sensational coverage of these events are the cause of the deaths, not assault weapons.

chiefcrash
04-03-2009, 12:45 PM
I understand what you're saying, and agree with you except for this part:
News editors who do that literally have blood on their hands

Why would/should ANYONE be held responsible for someone else's actions?

rabagley
04-03-2009, 12:50 PM
Why would/should ANYONE be held responsible for someone else's actions?

Because the sum of all proportional responsibility for an act does not add up to 1.000. For accidents, it can be much less. For certain social interactions, it can be much more.

Alternatively stated: the person (journalist) who instigated a crime does bear some responsibility without taking any responsibility away from the person who actually committed the crime.

Incitement to riot is a crime, despite the fact that the person with the bullhorn may end up doing no looting or vandalism himself.

stormy_clothing
04-03-2009, 12:53 PM
this theory is exactly why we have a large part of crime, the thought that people arent responsible for there own acts.

and then when they do these crimes are offered an easy out, the should have there brains melted and post it on youtube

lets see how many cowards do these things after that.

CCWFacts
04-03-2009, 1:07 PM
These posts about journalists not being responsible are not understanding it.

If someone is on a roof, about to jump off, and people below are shouting for him to jump, those people have some responsibility in his death. Ok, those people are not guilty and ultimately the guy who jumped made his own decision, but all those who influenced that decision also have responsibility.

I'm not saying that when someone goes on a murder rampage that he's somehow less guilty because of the actions of some news reporter. That's not it at all. I am saying news reporters should think about the consequences of what they are doing, as responsible human beings. If I see someone on a roof ready to jump, I have a choice of what I do. I can shout for him to jump, or I can try to talk him out of it. While I can't make the choice for the guy, I have some responsibility for what happens because I have some influence over it.

I'm surprised that anyone here wouldn't understand this. If you saw one guy on a roof, about to jump off, and you saw another guy below, shouting "jump! jump! jump!", what would you think about the guy below?

vladbutsky
04-03-2009, 1:32 PM
If someone is on a roof, about to jump off, and people below are shouting for him to jump, those people have some responsibility in his death.
This sounds like exactly same logic used by my coworkers when they tried to say that guns, gun manufactures, gun shops and people who advocate gun ownership are partially responsible for suicides by guns. Gun is probably the easiest way to end ones life so by advocating gun ownership we promote suicides...
I don't buy this logic.
Besides there is a difference between saying that there is a tool that can be used for suicide and actively encouraging actual act by saying "jump!".

stormy_clothing
04-03-2009, 1:34 PM
am I the only one here who's mom taught not to jump off a bridge because my friends do and missed the logic in that statment

Whiskey_Sauer
04-03-2009, 2:00 PM
Public health researchers have know about a phenomenon called suicide contagion (http://suicideandmentalhealthassociationinternational.org/suiconclust.html) or suicide clusters. In short, some people are having suicidal thoughts but may or may not act on them. Seeing reporting of other people acting on those thoughts validates the impulse and encourages suicide.

While I recognize this, and agree it's a problem, at the end of the day, people are entirely accountable for their own choices that infringe on the rights of others, and nobody else.

dfletcher
04-03-2009, 2:13 PM
These posts about journalists not being responsible are not understanding it.

If someone is on a roof, about to jump off, and people below are shouting for him to jump, those people have some responsibility in his death. Ok, those people are not guilty and ultimately the guy who jumped made his own decision, but all those who influenced that decision also have responsibility.

I'm not saying that when someone goes on a murder rampage that he's somehow less guilty because of the actions of some news reporter. That's not it at all. I am saying news reporters should think about the consequences of what they are doing, as responsible human beings. If I see someone on a roof ready to jump, I have a choice of what I do. I can shout for him to jump, or I can try to talk him out of it. While I can't make the choice for the guy, I have some responsibility for what happens because I have some influence over it.

I'm surprised that anyone here wouldn't understand this. If you saw one guy on a roof, about to jump off, and you saw another guy below, shouting "jump! jump! jump!", what would you think about the guy below?

I see your point - society can induce a person to behave one way or the other and as a result, there is some shared .......? You know, I don't want to use the word reponsibility or culpability, as mentioned that belongs to the person executing the act. Perhaps accountability?

yellowfin
04-03-2009, 2:55 PM
The publicity does perhaps move it closer to someone's attention, that's for sure. You could say it's like advertising.

B.D.Dubloon
04-03-2009, 3:03 PM
News editors who do that literally have blood on their hands


There seems to be a lot more of this in the last few years. People who have (apparently) no idea what "literally" means have started using it.

dwa
04-03-2009, 4:06 PM
that's crap. if some jerk off wants to kill themselves that's their business.

Mazilla
04-03-2009, 4:17 PM
After all this talk of suicide....<loading gun>.

Mikeb
04-03-2009, 4:53 PM
I've thought this for a long time. Watching these things it always seems like when one lunatic makes it into the news, four or five will follow the lead and try to out do the original crime to make their mark. I grew up with the concept of the "boogy man", but there was never instructions on how to out do the previous one.
I am tired of this copy cat stuff.
take care
Mike

River Jack
04-03-2009, 5:13 PM
Sorry, but I don't buy your theory. Not that I like seeing/reading these sensationalist journalists reporting these terrible incidents, but they are however simply doing their job (i.e., reporting on what has happened). Some of the statements made by them on occassion are another thing (e.g., misuse of "assalt weapon" comes to mind). This is the same kind of logic that the PMRC tried to use to convict heavy metal artists that write songs about suicide, murder, and the devil.

nicki
04-04-2009, 12:59 PM
People who are mass killers are not mentally balanced people.

They are emotionally and mentally unbalanced people who often hold grudges against groups or society and blame them for their failed miserable lives.

Many people are living on the edge, they have lost their hopes, their dreams, as such, they are already the walking dead.

Some of them are powder kegs and they can snap anytime.

They have given up on their own lives, because their lives are insignficant.

So what they do is they resort to violence because it makes them significant.

Sure the media can claim to need to cover the story, but they do more than cover the story, they flame it.

The message they send to others out in the world is you can be signficant too, can you top this.

It is the, if I'm going to go out, I'm going out in a "Blaze of Glory".
People will remember me.

If you want to understand human emotion, watch this link.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cpc-t-Uwv1I

Tony Robbins Rocks, he got me to walk across hot coals barefooted, they were between 1400 to 1600 degrees. I had to sign a liablity waiver before my firewalk btw.

yeah, I know Gore is in the video, so what. It actually is funny what is said.

Nicki

Palindari
04-04-2009, 2:06 PM
Catch your drift, perhaps they should tone down the sensationalism - but with four 24 hr cable news networks (CNN, HLN, FoxNews and MSNBC) they will latch onto anything to fill their time slots - the more sensational the better - hince the addage "if it bleeds it leads".

This will be hard to stop considering the current factors:
1. Economy is in the dumper - people's morale is lower and in greater numbers
2. Paranoia due to anti-Obama sentiments and fears of 2A rights infringement
3. No lack of stupid people - not all will be informed and responsible gun owners

So with these factors all in full play here, there will undoubtably be more more and more of these types of incidents occurring and it will not be ignored by the news networks by any means I'm afraid... but who knows...?

gunsmith
04-04-2009, 2:07 PM
it does seem as if there has been a significant increase in these type of shootings since the economy has crashed, newspapers are losing revenue so it makes sense they play it up to sell add space.
The mentally unhinged may see all the attention and think they have to top the last event to get their 15 minutes

Palindari
04-04-2009, 2:17 PM
It's not really a matter of one-upmanship here...

Let's say some twit loses his job, his house, wife, kids, etc. and thinks about taking out revenge against those that wronged him - but doesn't quite manage to muster up the guts to cross that line.

Then suddenly he witnesses others doing it on national televsion and then feels "yeah, I'll go out that way instead!" and now you have a committed sociopath.

Like many here have said - even if you have a CCW and find yourself in the situation to use your gun - shooting and taking another persons life is a tougher choice for some than others. Mostly because it's morally wrong - though justified.

But if they see others committing such crimes then the pressure to do the right thing seems to deminish and the capacity to commit to the act becomes easier... It's a lesser version of "mob rules" :rolleyes:

Personally I just hope theres enough on everyone's plate to hopefully ignore all this crap and focus on the cause not the means.

SPROCKET
04-04-2009, 8:51 PM
It's not really a matter of one-upmanship here...

<snip>

But if they see others committing such crimes then the pressure to do the right thing seems to deminish and the capacity to commit to the act becomes easier... It's a lesser version of "mob rules" :rolleyes:

Personally I just hope theres enough on everyone's plate to hopefully ignore all this crap and focus on the cause not the means.

+1

The mass media is powerful socializer in our society. The more you cover people flipping out and killing scores of people, the more you establish the behavior as a societal norm. Essentially it's monkey see, monkey do; "My marriage sucks, I lost my job. Obviously the thing to do is kill a bunch of people."

SanMiguel3
04-04-2009, 9:09 PM
So the media shouldn't cover actual news? :rolleyes:

Or is it your contention that "people flipping out and killing scores of people" isn't newsworthy?

yellowfin
04-04-2009, 9:25 PM
So the media shouldn't cover actual news? :rolleyes:

Or is it your contention that "people flipping out and killing scores of people" isn't newsworthy? More like it isn't decent or useful news, and that it's shameful that they exploit other people's misery for their profit and goals which are adverse to our well being.

vladbutsky
04-04-2009, 11:24 PM
I wonder if the recent wave of publications about gun related tragedies is really indicating the new trend or just they started to place such stories to the first page.
:TFH:
I really don't have an idea...
Does anyone here have an answer to this question?

TheBundo
04-05-2009, 12:00 AM
There was a 2nd mass shooting today, in Washington state. A man killed 5 of his children, then himself.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090405/ap_on_re_us/children_slain