Friday, February 15, 2008

It's Interesting When People Die

Is it just Moi, or are you also sick to death of the whole cottage industry that's grown up around stories of despair? Every time some nut job packing a grudge and a Glock decides to let loose at a high school or college campus, our media grab hold of the story and shake it loose for everything it's worth. The thing's already bleeding and lying on the floor. But damn, if they don't lie down on it and beat it some more.

What I hate most are the questions:

Matt Lauer: Can you tell us, why did this happen? (Gee, how are we to ever really know? Shit just happens?)

Katie Couric: How did you feel when the gunman stormed the classroom (Scared shitless?)

Dan Rather: Officer, can you tell me how you felt when you arrived on the scene? (Scared shitless?)

One of a dozen similarly glossified CNN reporters: Doctor, can you tell me the situation in the emergency room when they started bringing in the victims? (Chaotic?)

Nancy Grace: Tell me, Mr. Psychiatrist, what can victims expect to experience during the first couple weeks after suffering a trauma like this? (Hours of meetings with lawyers to sue for bazillions?)

And then there are the photos. Of wailing mouths and mothers clutching and fathers accusing. Of blood stained hands and shrouded gurneys. Of people in charge with guilt in their eyes assuring us that they will do something, anything, to guarantee the world that this will never happen again.

Well guess what? There's no way anyone can guarantee that. We can't legislate it away. We can't psychoanalyze it all okay. What we should do is have the utmost respect for the victims and not turn their terrible tragedy into a circus.


iamnot said...

It's all the death throes of the traditional media. They've been reduced to tabloid tactics to hold on to viewers.
It'll get worse before they finish dying.

Doris Rose said... my alma mater. I found this story rather upsetting.

The Troll said...

Yes, the mainstream media maggotry are awful. What's worse are our taxpayer-paid Congressweasels.

I'm willing to bet at least one of them have already swept like a vulture upon the story. And after the obligatory crocodile tears used it to push some piece of freedom-eroding legislation. Most likely, "gun control".

Anonymous Boxer said...

I officially turned off all Network News for the next .. what? Five days? Isn't that how long they'll milk this tragic story?

I believe it feeds the sick minds of those that plan these heinous acts. The News plays a bigger part than they realize. Or maybe they do.

moi said...

iamnot: Just recently I had a conversation with a local ex-news anchor. He told me he left because the business has degenerated to the point of no return. Yay.

Doris: As we all do in these instances. But by the time local and national media are finished exploiting these tragedies to the nth degree, they morph from tragedy into sick entertainment.

Troll: Buy ammo now.

AB: As per my note to iamnot above. Yes, they know exactly what they're doing. And they don't care.

she said...

yes, yes i am moi. vulturesque exploiters of misery. in fact though, the media is to blame by making the shooters infamous. thats right, remember the va tech shooter said he was partly motivated by everyone knowing his name and who he is. ditto the columbine boys.

the media are enemy number ONE in this nation. if i was a superhero my talent would be to jam all their frequencies for all eternity!!!

dirty bastards.

Wicked Thistle said...

Yes, we certainly do have a way of rolling around in the drama of it. I do think that the excessive analysis, at least in part, is humanity's (or perhaps just America's) way of trying to make sense of the unexplainable. It can be difficult to understand that such loss of life can occur for no reason other than someone was crazy. It can be hard to accept that it was unpreventable. It's frightening to imagine that if it could happen to them, it could happen to us. There is no doubt that the media sensationalize and use events like this for no reason other than profit. But even though I am as sickened as you are by how it is overplayed and used for ratings, I suppose I feel some compassion for the regular folks' need to just talk about something horrible that made no sense at all.

(Oh, and yes, troll, I am just waiting to hear what lovely new legislation to make us "safer" comes out of this.)

Meghan said...

I wish I had something to add, but you wrote all my thoughts out for me.

I simply couldn't agree more.

Gypsy said...

The media are blood sucking vultures with absolutely no respect for the victims or their families. Imagine you are the grieving parent and getting a microphone shoved in your face and some bloody inane question asked of you at the worst, most horror filled moment of your life. It just defies human decency and I hope for their sakes it is never one of their own that they have to sacrifice for the public's need to know.

ThursdayNext said...

Being an administrator at a University, I can tell you that the media should be focusing more on being contructive to ensure that all campuses have emergency alert plans set up, and perhaps even psychological screenings for students, such as this one, who were reported acting erratic. Instead of being productive, they beat it some more, just as you illustrate.

Ms Robinson said...

I partly blame rolling news. Everything is an 'atrocity' or a 'tragedy' when you could just say it's part of this life.

You've all expressed more than adequately the feelings that families must have but there's also the sheer stupidity when something happens.

Say, there are men buried under rubble.

News anchor "over to Scum journalist one"

Scum journalist 1: Nothing to report. The men are lying under the rubble and obviously everyone is worried.

Anchor: What more can you tell us?

Scum Journo: Well there are fears they won't make it out.

Anchor: What are the feelings of their families?

What do you fucking think they feel???


NYD said...

Again I am patting myself on the back for distancing myself from all the stupidity that the American media thrusts upon the general public.

she said...

where do i go to sue you moi for making the organ sound of dirty laundry play over and over in my head as i try to fall asleep! grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!

czar said...

I was working on a book a few years back and the author was actually shameless enough to make the following comment (as Dave Barry says, I am not making this up):

When I saw those planes fly into the World Trade Center, my first thought was, "I wonder if my grief book is still in print."

I mean, what do you do with people like that?

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Did I tell you about my upcoming misery memoir 'I was Locked in A Cupboard For Longer Than You'

Available in all bad bookshops (aka Walmart on a 3-4-2

Full blog review at

(sorry these comment things never allow for live links, but I assure you my misery's worth it!)

Melissaria said...

I'm so glad you said that.

I wondered if I was the most heartless hag in the world last week when shouting at the rolling news 'oh for fucks' sake, it's bad enough that these things even happen without the reporters sounding like they're reading from a gothic horror novel...'

It was over the top, crass and tasteless. And you're absolutely right to criticise it.