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?’