Today I watched in utter disbelief as both Fox News and CNN referred to the Colorado movie theater shooter as a “genius”.
Does anyone else find this disturbing?
Please excuse me if I go off on a rant, here, but I am absolutely flummoxed by the lack of common sense displayed today by these two cable media titans.
In case you haven’t heard, last Thursday night’s midnight showing of the new Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado was interrupted by gunfire. A heavily-armed man wearing body armor came into the theater and started shooting. 12 were killed, over 50 were injured, and I understand that 17 are still in the hospital.
The only reason it didn’t turn out worse was the combination of a quick response from the police, and the fact that his gun jammed, rendering hundreds of rounds useless.
This man, this cowardly piece of trash, was all over the news today. Normally, in the interest of staying positive and avoiding any one cable news media’s “spin”, I get my news from online newspapers, as well as from WCSH 6 in Maine and Hawaii News Now in Honolulu. Today, however, I was a bit of a captive audience simply because I was working out at my health club, and the channel right in front of me was tuned in to the news.
Unfortunately, Fox News dedicated a huge amount of time to showing the movie theater shooter standing before a judge while chattering away about him. One of their worst, most irresponsible comments was made by the male anchor commentating around noon today. He called the shooter an “evil genius”.
If that wasn’t bad enough, a little later, while on a different machine with CNN in front of me, I saw the angry and distraught brother of one of the victims interviewed. He, too, referred to the shooter as a “genius”. CNN then made that statement their banner headline.
This is where I (quietly) lost it.
What constitutes genius, anyway? Is it shooting into an unsuspecting crowd of theater patrons while wearing heavy-duty body armor?
It is not.
True geniuses have names like Albert Einstein. Frank Lloyd Wright. Stephen Hawking. Steve Jobs. Shakespeare. Galileo Galilei. These are geniuses. They earned that distinction for their intellect, insight, creativity, or the ability to see and make connections that others could not.
Shooting dozens and dozens of people and booby-trapping your apartment is not genius. It is cowardice. It is the stupidity of a punk. It is the cruelty of a killer.
It is NOT genius.
Calling him a genius is not only stupid, but it’s incredibly insensitive and disrespectful to the victims and their families.
What is with the media, anyway? Why do they make these kinds of statements?
They do it for the ratings. They do it to inflame and upset, and to get us hooked on their shows. Because the more ratings you have, the more money you get via commercials.
There is a reason that the commercials cost millions of dollars during the Super Bowl. It’s because America is a captive audience during those three hours. And if everyone is watching, you can charge more.
Which is why I think we all need to stop watching them.
Now if you are a news junkie who has Fox or CNN on 24/7, please don’t think I want you to break your habit. The truth is, I love nothing better than being in New York where I can listen to 1010 WINS on the radio–straight news, no judgements. After all, I cut my teeth on a school newspaper, and graduated to studying journalism and working for a daily newspaper as a reporter, photographer and weekly columnist. I have to know what’s going on…but I refuse to participate in this kind of media feeding frenzy.
All I ask you to do is to not participate in the exhaustive coverage of a mass murderer.
Tonight, CNN is airing a special all about him. Please don’t watch it. All we do when we are a party to this kind of voyeurism is glorify what he did.
What message are we sending our society? That if you kill a dozen people, we will air specials about you and call you a genius?
That’s insane. It’s just insane.
While I was exercising, and looking away from CNN every time they brought their coverage back to that cowardly killer, I saw a small blurb about chef Marcus Samuelsson, an Ethiopian-born orphan who came to America and started a restaurant in Harlem. He is helping to revitalize that neighborhood, and doing good for his community. In the course of his interview, he called America the greatest country in the world, and proudly announced his patriotism for his adopted country.
THIS is who CNN should be doing specials about. Not murderers.
Please join me in boycotting CNN and Fox News coverage of this killer. When it comes on, change the channel. If you feel so inspired, write or tweet them that they are wrong.
My favorite tweet of the day came from a fellow named Rob Delaney. He had this to say in response to ABC’s tweet promising coverage about the shooter:
“A guy you’re making famous. RT @ABC: Who Is Colorado Shooting Suspect James Holmes?“
Your Monday Challenge is this:
Refuse to participate in the voyeuristic, sensationalistic coverage surrounding the Colorado movie theater shooter. If it comes on, shut it off. If you really want to follow the news, read twitter or pick up a newspaper. The newspapers will be straightforward and won’t have the rampant stupidity and speculation of the on-air anchors, simply because they have a limited amount of column inches they can fill, and will have to stick to the facts.
We don’t need specials about killers. In my opinion, it serves nobody, and does more harm than good.
You just can’t make this stuff up!
My husband and I went to see “The Avengers” again tonight, since our kids are with their cousins through tomorrow. When we came out of the theater, we saw five satellite news trucks on the far side of the lot. Several were from Boston, 90 minutes away.
Ever curious, I walked up to ask what was going on. I honestly thought there had been an accident at the Funtown/Splashtown amusement park across the street.
I was wrong.
It turns out they were there to cover the story, that I’m guessing must just be coming out, about a man who brought guns to a showing of Batman last Saturday.
Here in a little town in Maine.
At my favorite theater.
Folks, if that isn’t proof that copycats do happen, and that they get their ideas from the news, I don’t know what is.
Here is the link to the news out of Maine: Police: Colo. shooting articles found during Maine gun seizure
After reading the news article (above), I’ve come to the conclusion that the man who brought a gun to the Saco Cinemagic was looking for attention.
How else can you explain speeding down the highway with your blinkers on, doing 112 mph, with an arsenal in your trunk and news clippings about Colorado in your car?
Can we say “Attention-seeking behavior”?
And the news media played right into it.
When will they ever learn?