News is a supply-and-demand business, like any other. Critics of NBC News’ decision to air the video and photos from the Virginia Tech killer ignore this point.
Critics allege the public is outraged that the video was aired. Meanwhile, it’s quickly becoming the most-watched clip ever on the Associated Press’ video network. And NBC clobbered its competitors the night of the release of video not because people were disgusted, but because people were interested.
Give me a break. Someone please ask these hypocrites whether they watched the video. If it was so wrong to air, then it was equally wrong to watch.
During CNN’s “Reliable Sources” today, commentator Hugh Hewitt was on one of his rampages, this time predicting NBC would have “blood on its hands” if someone tries to emulate the killer. Hewitt says the murderer used this killing to get on TV. Ironic that I’d not seen Hewitt on TV until now.
This entire debate is esoteric, at best. The mainstream media forgets that if they choose not to air clips, it won’t matter in the future. The killer could upload them to YouTube instead, or one of the other numerous video-sharing sites. Copies would quickly proliferate online and people could read or watch it there.
The crux of this argument is really whether to air something that most people want to see, for better or worse, regardless of whether some people will complain.
I guess it depends who the news media is supposed to serve.
In this case, the market worked perfectly. The content was released because of high demand. After it was seen, demand subsided. And now networks won’t air it.