It’s Time for Common Sense Media Control

Since we are talking gun control in the wake of Sandy Hook, how about we talk a little media control? The Sandy Hook murderer was a disturbed young man, but being disturbed doesn’t mean they are stupid or irrational – at least not irrational within the confines of their own mind. Few human actions, or series of actions are without a purpose. Even monstrous actions like those visited upon Newtown Connecticut. Many spree killers kill themselves. The Columbine High School murderers did, the killer in Clackamas Oregon did. Dead, they are unable to “enjoy” the results of their actions. So what’s their motivation? . . .

Consider a soldier that charges a machine gun nest or jumps on a grenade. For him, the payoff of his heroism lies in saving his friends’ lives. He intuits that he will be remembered as a hero, that if he dies he’ll live on in the hearts of those he saved as someone who was good. A soldier who acts above and beyond is recognized by a grateful nation, even posthumously. Bronze Star, Silver Star, the Congressional Medal of Honor – soldiers understand it is a great honor to be so remembered. Nobody tries to get a posthumous medal, but a soldier knows that if he is brave and good, he’ll be remembered that way should he lose his life.

I believe the inverse is true, too. Disturbed people who commit mass murder are seeking something. Revenge for wrongs; to be remembered as someone not to be messed with. They want to bring great sorrow and pain, and the media are complicit in delivering the goods. Some sick bastard is brooding, maybe mentally ill, or maybe he’s just an asshole. He sits watching the nation wallow in the aftermath of a spree murder. The reports plant a seed of evil – “Hey, that would show those bastards…”

Even though the freedom of the press is a constitutional right, perhaps we need to start restricting how the media reports mass shootings. We need a national conversation here. We may do well to make reporting them outside of the county where the action took place illegal, and confiscate any notes, equipment or recordings used to capture information about the crime.

By doing this, a potential copycats may only have one example in their lifetime to fixate upon, and then only if they happen to live in that county. Today a sick individual will see several mass shootings reported throughout their lifetime, providing heaven knows what awful spark. Maybe we’re giving too many bad ideas to people inclined to do bad things.

And while we’re at it, let’s also ban high-capacity reporting. Why do journalists need to do dozens of stories about a spree killer? I think one story told to inform the community is all any news outlet really needs. We are better than this. By enacting common sense press control, we can make a difference. If it saves just one person won’t it be worth it?

41 Responses to It’s Time for Common Sense Media Control

  1. avatarThrawn says:

    Every night before he sleeps, Piers Morgan prays to Satan for there to be another hysterical media blow-out so he can stay on air. Because of this, he could not contain his excitement over a crazed gunman shooting children – so much so that he screams about it for an hour every night on his “talk” show.

    The Viscious Cycle.

  2. avatarRalph says:

    Those crazy b@stards — I’m referring to the murderers, not the reporters — kill because they are losers and want to have power and control over others to enhance their overinflated egos. The other crazy b@stards — I’m referring to the reporters, not the murderers– lie for the same reason plus money. Lots of money. The other crazy b@stards — I’m referring to the politicians, not the murderers or the reporters — do it for the same reasons as the reporters. The three goups are equally psychopathic.

    I hope this helps. I am available for consultation every weekday except Wednesday.

  3. avatarJOE MATAFOME says:

    I think we should also start banning cars with “HIGH CAPACITY ENGINES” that force speed demons to kill innocent people. Maybe we should only allow regular citizens to drive evil cars that can’t go over 20 MPH and we could save thousands of lives every year. Only rescue and fire trucks would be allowed to go faster because they’d be trying to save lives. The police should be restricted to about 15 MPH since there’s no need for them to get anywhere fast, because they always seem to arrive just in time to investigate how you were robbed or murdered.

  4. avatarjwm says:

    I think the media should have the same freedom with their 1a rights as I do with my 2a rights.

    They need to submit to a background check and a waiting period and finger prints before they run a story. And since modern mass communications wasn’t envisioned by the founding fathers only the printed and spoken word can be used to relay the news. No TV, radio or internet.

    • avatarDracon1201 says:

      And since modern mass communications wasn’t envisioned by the founding fathers only the printed and spoken word can be used to relay the news. No TV, radio or internet.

      Not quite, but we should introduce bills every couple of months and after major events that every republican plus a couple of flip-floppy democrats will vote for to scare the crap out of them.

      • avatarTotenglocke says:

        This. I’d love to see Republicans have the balls to do it – then we can see the media try to explain why they are allowed to do whatever they want but we are to be restricted to hell and back.

    • avatarSammy says:

      Yes they should have the same rights as A2, and the same responsibility for their equivalent of “negligent discharges” as their negligence (deliberate misinformation) is far more damaging than a firearm incident as the media affects millions with each story, true or fabricated.

    • avatarsancahnim says:

      Sounds legit…. ;-)

  5. avatarLance says:

    True show how demented and evil the media is how they love to use evil to try to destroy the nation from within. The MSN’s utopia they push for in all there spiels in the nation are against everything the nation was founded on. In was the nation should not attack guns but purge the nasty scum out of the media.

  6. avatarGregolas says:

    Part of our problem is that most in our society no longer understand the difference between fame and mere notoriety. Many of today’s children, with their mania to be “known”, open their lives to strangers on the web. The reasons for this are many, but the upshot is that there are always a few little proto-Hitlers that will sacrifice their lives and others’ for a moment’s notice. Sad that our media aids and abets them.

  7. avatarjimbthepilot says:

    Let’s try this: absolutely NO publication of the perpetrator’s name or likeness. If the broadcast media run either one, their broadcasting license is permanently yanked. If it’s published by print media, the media parent company is seized by the state in which the mass murder occurs, all assets sold, and proceeds paid to families of the victims.

  8. avatartjlarson2k says:

    Eh, imo, the media needs to be criminally liable for turning every spree into a “get the best score” contest.

    I find it ironic they blame video games but the media is the one turning these spree shootings into a popularity game with unrelenting coverage of the shooters… they’re giving them everything they wanted (coverage) and more.

  9. avatarThomas Paine says:

    no need for media regulation. They have their own system called the Associated Press. i said before: if I was president, i would have scolded the Associated Press for making these people famous. They should know that they are part of the problem.

    (As of 2005, the news collected by the AP is published and republished by more than 1,700 newspapers, in addition to more than 5,001 television and radio broadcasters. The photograph library of the AP consists of over 10 million images. The Associated Press operates 243 news bureaus, and it serves at least 120 countries, with an international staff located all over the world.)

    • avatarThomas Paine says:

      furthermore, its the consumer of the news information: the American people. Their thirst to know the names and lives of these individuals contributes to their post-humous popularity. They should also be scolded by their president elect. Somebody higher up has to tell ‘em.

  10. avatartdiinva says:

    Tim:

    I am hurt that you did not note that I came up with this proposal last week. We need a ne federal agency to look through all blogs to ensure that the first person to post get the credit.

  11. avatarJay W. says:

    If someone runs on the field or court of a professional or televised event, the media won’t show them doing so, in order to not encourage copycats. However, commit a “sensational’ or notorious act and your name and a picture of your face lives on in infamy.

    While I am not trained or qualified to make psychological assessment of the Newtown CT mass murderer’s (note -not Adam Lanza by name) motivation, other than drawing upon my 53 years of life experiences, my personal wisdom of the years is telling me that the media needs start providing more anonymity to these “nutjobs” and refer to them by their act instead of their name.

    • avatarTim McNabb says:

      I have been consciously not referring to the names of killers, referring to instead the place the crime occurred rather than the names of the people who committed it.

      I have been deleting the term “tragedy” and using synonyms for crime – spree killings are not accidents.

      The media could voluntarily limit how they cover things – they do something like it for sports events, something that did not occur to me until Jay W. mentioned it. This seems to make more sense – to ask the media who are far more complicit in creating future spree killers than the average gun enthusiast whose rights will be curtailed by bans.

  12. avatarIdahoMan says:

    You know, these people are Socialists so I seriously wonder if they wouldn’t be against certain restrictions in the name of fairness:

    1. Like mandated rationed of air-time per story as not to “monopolize” against other things that are happening in the world.

    2. Official ID to be an “Authorized Journalist”, or a Federal Broadcasters License if you are “in the business” of reporting and airing information that has a large impact on the public.

    3. Maybe a large “Press Tax” for those who have the high-number audiences.

    And since the internet is totally unregulated, where anybody can just learn/discuss anything without any over-site: People should be required to register their blogs.
    Don’t want certain information just out there for anyone to get a hold of; some of these blogs/private-sites talk about very anti-social things or can contain instructions about learning destructive behavior were it not in the hands of an legitimate user (No one needs to know how to make an explosive for example).

  13. avatardrus90 says:

    Why don’t we all take a breath and try to think clearly.

    What is the probability of your child getting shot in school or a mall or a movie theater?

    Now, how are children and adults most likely to die?

    Now, how do we reduce the probability of those occurrences? What is the best thing to do to ensure people do not die???

  14. avatarNate says:

    Every article I tried to read about the Pennsylvania shooting had something about Adam Lanza injected into it. I don’t understand how the public cannot see how they are being manipulated.

  15. avatarKyle says:

    Large scale media restriction will never happen in this country for the same two reasons that I believe (read: hope like hell) that a large scale firearms ban will never happen.

    1. It’s a constitutionally protected right.

    2. There is WAY too much money to be made. Those who are currently making that money, from lowliest field reporter and assembly line technician, to the bazillionare CEO’s and media moguls, will do EVERYTHING within their power and budget to keep these rights from being restricted.

    That being said, I agree 100% that sensationalizing these atrocities does no good for anyone. It’s like Morgan Freeman said (supposedly), these disturbed dilholes who would normally just off themselves in their parent’s basement see these guys become supervillians on the news and get similar ideas. I realize this article was satirical in nature but restricting free press opens a whole can of fascist worms.

    Bans are not the answer, address the disease, not the symptoms. Get these guys out of their basements and get them the help they need. With genetics being where they are, in the very near future we can diagnose genetic predispositions to sociopathic behavior, maybe we can already, i’m not a geneticist. But we need to remove the will and want to destroy, not the tools used to do it.

    • avatarAlex says:

      Exactly right. It’s all about the money. Shocking headlines sell. That’s what gets the airtime and ratings and page views. That is all what matters in the end.

      We as a society do not care anymore about human decency, respect, common sense, personal responsibility, etc. That’s the sad truth.

      Remember, the mainstream media only serves what the people want. The people want shock and gore, so that’s what the media gives us.

      Until the people change their attitude about what they want, refuse to consume this sensationalistic crap, and show the media what callous, disrespectful, ignorant, opinionated, manipulative, greedy bastards they are, this will continue ad nauseam.

      Regulating the media is the worst thing we can do because not only does it go against the first amendment which is one of the pillars of our culture, but it would make us look very bad. “Hey, we don’t like what you say, so we will do what we can to prevent you from doing so.” Not the right approach, no matter how wrong and ignorant and manipulative they are.

      What we can do is be the best example we can possibly be, demonstrate wherever we can that we gun owners are responsible, respectful, educated, rational, mature, safety conscious human beings, and continue to expose the media for the slimy, manipulative, greedy, arrogant assholes they are.

      However, we have to face the very real possibility that over time, we will lose this battle. If our culture continues to go down the road it does, and the general attitude of laziness, entitlement, irresponsibility, passiveness, carelessness, and stupidity continues, things will look dire. Have you seen the movie “Idiocracy” for a preview of a possible future? Scary…

      We, the current representatives of the gun culture, will be reduced to a small group of fringe “extremists” over time that will eventually die out because a) there are not enough people of the younger generation to continue the fight and b) the amount of ignorant, intolerant, scared liberals misled by the mainstream media will continue to grow and vote us out of existence.

      Emotion, fear, and misinformation are feeding this battle. Facts, rational arguments, reality, and responsibility do not play a role in this. We need to take a moment every day, appreciate what we have, and do what we can to defend it. In 50 years, these times might be just a distant memory.

    • avatarjwm says:

      A constitutionaly protected right? Just like the 2a?

  16. avatarIdahoMan says:

    You know, these people are Socialists so I seriously wonder if they wouldn’t be against certain restrictions in the name of fairness:

    1. Like mandated rationed of air-time per story as not to “monopolize” against other things that are happening in the world.

    2. Official ID to be an “Authorized Journalist”, or a Federal Broadcasters License if you are “in the business” of reporting and airing information that has a large impact on the public.

    3. Maybe a large “Press Tax” for those who have the high-number audiences.

    And since the internet is totally unregulated, where anybody can just learn/discuss anything without any over-site: People should be required to register their blogs.
    Don’t want certain information just out there for anyone to get a hold of; some of these blogs/private-sites talk about very anti-social things or can contain instructions about learning destructive behavior were it not in the hands of an legitimate user (No one needs to know how to make an explosive for example).

    http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/12/tim-mcnabb/time-for-common-sense-media-control/#comments

  17. avatarTim McNabb says:

    For what it is worth, I would fight regulation of the media as much as I fight for the 2nd Amendment. That said, there is a such thing as self-discipline. The media could enact policies and practices to curtail the notoriety factor. There are style guides and press organizations that could work to adopt such practices. I think it would be good to do these things and the public would still be served.

  18. avatarDrVino says:

    “restricting the media” . … well, that would be…. unconstitutional…..
    but then it’s only wrong when it’s done to you
    like being “anti-government” is OK if you’re a *liberal* radical (and isn’t the right to dissent implicit in the foundational documents of our country)?

  19. avatarMatt in FL says:

    A local TV station here in Orlando sent a team to Newtown. A team. The anchor, the camerman, and 4 support staff. A local news anchor traveling 1200 miles to report on a story that was already in heavy coverage by the national networks. They got absolutely torn up locally by talk radio, on their Facebook page, etc. People saw it for what it was, a pure sensationalistic ratings grab, because that station could now claim to be the “only local news team on the scene, bringing you the latest…” and they reacted accordingly. The station, after careful consideration, brought its people home. They had no business going in the first place.

  20. avatarAharon says:

    Tim, great read. Thanks, it made me smile.

  21. avatarpat says:

    Common sense media control? Same as common sense liberal control (since, mostly, the two are one in the same). Dont hold your breath.

  22. avatarSaul Feldstein says:

    I think the mods on this board have conceded to more gun control without any real sense that its inevitable. Obama might find out his ability to shoehorn healthcare is alot different than stripping the 2nd amendment.

    A little less pessimism might go a long way, especially in convincing gun dealers not to be greedy gougers in this time of confusion. If, in 3 months Sandy Hook is a distant memory as the economy comes back to focus, people who paid 1500.00 for a DPMS and 75.00 for a Pmag are going to feel pretty stupid.

  23. avatarAnmut says:

    I just sent this to our local paper… I highly doubt it will be printed!

    Reader Disgusted With 1st Amendment

    I think it’s time we had a conversation in regards to the 1st Amendment in this country. This so-called “right” to free speech isn’t needed anymore.

    I know that when the founding fathers of this country wrote the Bill of Rights they did it not knowing that technology would change so far from the quill pens and parchment paper that they knew of in their day. But now companies owned by rich people have made it so easy for us to communicate that anyone is free to do it. Did you know that during the 24 hours that followed the Sandy Hook murders the mass media consistently got the facts wrong but continued to report it anyway? This sensationalism of a murderer only plants the seed for the next psycho to live in infamy!

    Now don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against letter writers. If someone wants to communicate once a year during the letter writing season with a quill pen and parchment paper that is fine. But this mass communication with these sleek, black devices must be stopped!

    How many more murderers will have their names and faces sensationalized in front of our children’s TV, computer and mobile devices before we demand a national ban?

    Sincerely,

    Professor W.Hinee Blamer
    Knee-Jerk Reaction University

  24. avatarGeorge King says:

    If you give me enough media time you will believe what I say. How dum is that? They should only report the truth and keep opinions to themselves, Just a thought

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