Does the media encourage others to do the same?

Most of you will probably know about the primary school massacre that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, America yesterday. A complete tragedy that left 28 dead – 20 being children. When we are plagued with numerous pictures of weeping children and parents of lost ones, we can’t help but feel utter despair for these families. Our human nature makes us feel some slight attachment to these complete strangers, we feel guilt and pain for them yet we know nothing about them. We have to ask ourselves, how much does the media influence this?

Personally, I believe that the media is an incredibly powerful platform that has the ability to influence so many groups of people. Like the hypodermic needle theory, most of us can be unaware of the messages and ideas that can become planted within us, thanks to the media. Even more so, living among a ‘democracy’ enables us to believe our own decisions are in fact our own. So as a consequence, I’m sure a few people who may be slightly passive with regards to the media’s influence, may disagree with my statement.

There’s part of me that can’t help but feel that the media’s coverage on this story and many others of similar kinds, may have a hugely detrimental effect. Various studies have revealed mass murderers enjoy the attention they attract through the crime they have committed – yet we carry on giving them airtime and coverage through various TV channels 24 hours a day, around the clock. Now, I’m sure people that work within the media will argue that this is done for the benefit of informing the public. However, should a murderer’s picture be posted on every channel over and over? Should in depth details of the victims and murder tactics be revealed? In my opinion, this is done for the shock factor, it drags people in and gets them involved. We get this feeling of ‘something HAS to be done’. Then the media can implant ideologies within us, we’re vulnerable and feeling motivated for change. How can others not understand that the ‘celebrity’ status we begin to give mass murderers will eventually drive others to do the same. Don’t get me wrong, this was a complete tragedy but do we want more to follow?

I read an interesting comment on a social networking site regarding the situation. How can countries not expect blood shed when it ‘cultivates bloody wars’, leaving thousands upon thousands to be suffering. I’m not saying these innocent people deserve any of this, for a second. I am saying that, perhaps the media coverage, gun control and other factors that are implemented by governments, have reoccurring detrimental effects.

The scary thing is, this issue is universal. It is not exclusive to America. We can look at many cases where media coverage has gotten out of hand and covered information to an unnecessary level.

The worrying question is simply ‘how can we change this?’

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9 thoughts on “Does the media encourage others to do the same?

    • What’s wrong with shock value? It brings attention to a story, going into the details and demonising the person that has commited the crime makes the story. No one would be tuned into the news or stay fixated on a specific channel if it went into more detail. Allows people to empathise with the people affected

      • It’s the things they are bringing attention to I find unnecessary. Moreover, the amount of coverage they give these mass murderers is insane. There are unfortunately people who see, copy and act. Obviously not most people, but rare occasions creating tragedy. It demonizes the act but still offers the murderer attention. I agree it is good to empathise but does it make us putty in the media’s hand – with reference to other situations where the media influence us.

      • How is attention to a national atrocity a negative? There won’t be a person in America and probably majority of the west the wont of heard about the incident last night and the details about it. I.e the weapons the gunman used. It’s going to bring the issue of gun control up again. And be a chance for the members of congress to conceive the gun loving far right to move out of their 1776 mindset that not any old nutcase can freely get hold of guns. I don’t think the media has a negative issue in terms of helping others carry out acts such as the one we saw yesterday, there have been 3 incidents like this this year of course three too many but in a nation of hundreds of millions of people it is a minuscule percentage. With the amount of media pressure you would surely hope it would bring a change to the US.

  1. What’s wrong with shock value? It brings attention to a story, going into the details and demonising the person that has commited the crime makes the story. No one would be tuned into the news or stay fixated on a specific channel if it went into more detail. Allows people to empathise with the people affected

  2. That’s what I referred to in my post saying some coverage we are presented with is for information purposes. Of course we have to be educated of what is occurring around us. Look at the Virginia Tech massacre. The most used image that was shown to the public was him posing with guns towards the camera and himself as if he was in an action movie. What part of that is necessary for the public is what I’m asking. They don’t NEED to see the images of him playing with guns when he went on to kill after.
    The media can definitely be proactive in creating beneficial laws and regulations that benefit our lives. But my argument is how much of the coverage is necessary and how much of it is for a story, a reaction. Do they consider by presenting pictures of individuals holding guns, wearing outfits that resemble action heroes, it may have a knock on effect towards easy influenced people. I’m not even talking about copycat crime. I’m talking about individuals who take characteristics of crimes and repeat them. I’m looking at the bigger picture.

    • Showing the image to paint a picture of the person that has committed the crime, obviously not the behaviour of a normal mentally stable individual. Surely the major issue is the fact these types of people or anyone in America can obtain guns so easily? Not the medias portrayl of them? The guy that committed the murders in the cinema in Colorado dressed up as something similar out of the batman movie, if you say press needs to be monitored and images they show need to be thought about before aired than that’s bringing a whole new argument of censoring of all forms of media and entertainment?

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