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NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-19-2007, 01:27 PM   #1
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NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

I thought I would start this off with this advisory: the purpose of this thread is to discuss NBC's decision to air the Cho video
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As it happens I am listening to the book "Mindhunter" by John Douglas and Mark Olsbaker.
Mindhunter enters the minds of some of the country's most notorious serial killers to tell the real-life story of the Investigative Support Unit (ISU) -- the FBI's special force that has assisted state and local police in cracking some of the country's most celebrated serial murder and rape cases. The unit specializes in understanding the chemistry and mechanical workings of the brain's of these serial criminals, and did its homework by interviewing such murderers as Charles Manson and David Berkowitz (the Son of Sam). John Douglas, who worked for the FBI for 25 years, is an authority on the unit, and his book combines the best of nonfiction with that of a murder mystery
http://www.amazon.com/Mindhunter-Ins.../dp/0671528904
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A couple of notes:
1. I believe it was a grevious error in judgement for NBC to air the video - in whole or in part. I think it would have been appropriate to air one or two simple photographs of Cho - a close up of the face without the guns, hammer, shooting vest or contorted facial expressions.
You can contact the following if you agree:
To: Robert.Wright@nbcuni.com
Copy Jeff.Zucker@nbcuni.com
Note - there is a period between their first and last names

2. From the book there are two very interesting points that apply to this topic
A. Serial killers do have their heroes and want to be like other serial killers or better - the Son of Sam killer was referenced by the BTK killer
B. Cho appears to have been an assassin type killer - the book states that "If you want to know the artist study his work." It seems obvious after the fact but the trates are there - read the book . SoI think you can expect a future mass killing to reference Cho or at least to learn from his experience.
C. Expect more videos from serial killers to be sent to the news media.

3. "Today" host Matt Lauer says there are big differences of opinion within NBC News about whether any of the material should be aired at all.He says the decision to show some of the material was made because it may help people understand or answer the question: why did it happen?
This is a weak argument for doing what NBC did and I think they are grasping for straws.

4. NBC's reasoning:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18200115/
We believe it provides some answers to the critical question, "why did this man carry out these awful murders?"
Would they have aired a tape from a child molester/killer telling why he did it; his anger and enjoyment of the crime so that the public could understand it?

The decision to run this video was reached by virtually every news organization in the world, as evidenced by coverage on television, on Web sites and in newspapers. We have covered this story and our unique role in it with extreme sensitivity, underscored by our devoted efforts to remember and honor the victims and heroes of this tragic incident. We are committed to nothing less.
Other people did it so it is OK for us to do it; we also did it with sensitivity.

http://www.canada.com/topics/enterta...f66f08&k=75503
Decision to air gunman Cho's video has immediate repercussions for NBC News

Canadian Press

Thursday, April 19, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) - NBC News' decision to air some of the video and pictures sent by Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui has immediate repercussions for the network.

Family members of victims have cancelled their plans to appear on NBC's "Today" show. One of the show's hosts, Meredith Vieira, says the family members "were very upset" with NBC for airing the images.

Cho, 23, sent a package filled with rambling, hate-filled video and written messages, and several pictures of him posing with a gun, to NBC News on the morning of his killing rampage.

It arrived in the mail Wednesday, and contents began airing on the network with the "Nightly News."

"Today" host Matt Lauer says there are big differences of opinion within NBC News about whether any of the material should be aired at all.

He says the decision to show some of the material was made because it may help people understand or answer the question: why did it happen?

But he says NBC feels strongly that "this is not some kind of video that we need to run in some kind of endless loop," and that NBC would "severely limit" what it airs.

The decision of what the public sees, however, isn't entirely in NBC's hands.

ABC and CBS began running some of the material almost immediately in their evening news broadcasts Wednesday after recording it off NBC. The images were also shown extensively on cable news networks.

Cho's package, with "A. Ishmail" and a Blacksburg, Va., return address on it, arrived at NBC News on Wednesday and was immediately flagged by security. NBC had previously reported that Cho had the words "Ismail Ax" scrawled in red ink on his arm during the rampage.

NBC didn't show it for several hours at the request of Virginia State Police, who wanted to see it for their investigation.

There was no indication of why Cho chose NBC News for his message, NBC national security reporter Pete Williams said. A Postal Service time stamp shows it was mailed at 9:01 a.m. Monday, during the two hours between his first shooting at a Virginia Tech dorm and his massacre at a classroom building, which he ended by killing himself.
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-19-2007, 01:37 PM   #2
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

I agree that should not have been shown. It is just typical pandering for ratings. What difference does it make if the general publc understands serial killers or not? Are we all expected to become profilers?

But we do know that there will very likely be copycats.

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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-19-2007, 01:55 PM   #3
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

Showing it this soon is just a shock value rating game...

I can understand the cable channels doing it, they have no good sense there...

And don't just blame NBC... yes, the others got it from them, but as you say they were showing it right away themselves..

I do not think it should have been shown anytime soon. What, like we did not already know this guy was a nut?? It does not take a psychology degree to figure that one out..

To tell the truth, I am already tired of the mass coverage of this... the blame game of why the school did not cancel class for 27K people?? Are the reporters so stupid that we do something like that for every murder?? Most are one offs... they shoot someone they know and it is over... now find the guy and bring him to justice... oh well, rant over for now...
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-19-2007, 01:58 PM   #4
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

Sensitivity.... from the industry that has drowned us in the total irrelevence of "Anna Nicol"?

From the people that blew up Imus's mouth as the "scandal of the month"?

From the lynch mob of the Duke lacross team?

Sorry. Sensitivity is not in the media's lexicon... only market share.

They are beyond disgust.
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-19-2007, 02:03 PM   #5
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

I think we should be focusing on the victims and profiling their lives. Showing anything about Cho just gives him what he wanted.
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-19-2007, 02:21 PM   #6
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

yet further display of incredibly poor judgment
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-19-2007, 02:55 PM   #7
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

totally agree it was terrible judgement and further shows how discretion is so lost these days...


ABC even came out w/ a statement that they aren't showing it anymore because it just amounts to pornography - showing some regret - even though a bit too late.
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-19-2007, 03:07 PM   #8
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

Of course it's all about the ratings.

Simple solution, turn it off and don't watch NBC anymore-- switch to ABC. I know I will. It starts with you.
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-19-2007, 04:34 PM   #9
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

I turned it off, it was irresponsible pandering for ratings. At least the nut could be said to be insane. What do you say about NBC?
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-19-2007, 04:37 PM   #10
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

I didn't watch the Newshour yesterday so I may be in error -- but I'd have to assume that PBS did not choose to show this.

Anybody know?
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-19-2007, 04:42 PM   #11
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

I don't have a problem with it. I don't get my news from TV anyway, but I did watch part of the video on youtube because I wanted to see it and judge for myself.

Gotta review the primary sources of info and all...
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-19-2007, 04:53 PM   #12
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

I wish they hadn't shown as much of it, or as many times. I did want to see it for myself, but once was more than enough. Okay, want was a strong word, but I did feel I had a duty to watch it, as a staff member at a university who could run into a similarly troubled kid someday. But they want over the top.

For instance, last night I loaded up CNN.com and was, without warning, confronted by the picture of that...creature...pointing a gun directly at the camera/me. I just about jumped out of my chair, and as a native of Oklahoma City, I'm unfortunately somewhat desensitized to that sort of image. Then this morning in the gym every bloody TV set was tuned to it. I nearly couldn't finish my workout having to stare at it, but I wasn't gonna let him screw up my cardio.

As I said, I was ok with them showing bits of it at first, but I do not see why they thought it neccessary to put the thing on repeat through the whole of Keith Olbermann last night--except for the segments where they cut away briefly for hand-wringing interviews with each other about whether it was appropriate to be showing it. I kept remembering how they did the same darned thing with the Murrah Building footage--and I remember how it felt, even just as someone indirectly effected, to be assaulted with those images day after day. I can't conceive what it's doing to the students at VT and their families to be faced with those images and words everywhere they turn. I'd be more annoyed with NBC, except that I have no doubt that any other network would have done exactly the same if he'd mailed the package to them.

Ultimately, nobody forces us to watch that stuff, and they obviously get the ratings to warrant that kind of sensationalism. WTF does that say about us as a culture?
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The media and that video
Old 04-19-2007, 06:50 PM   #13
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The media and that video

An 11th grade student today said that the media should never have aired the sick video from the Tech shooting. He said he should lie in his grave a nobody. But instead he gets press just like the sick suicide bombers that aljeezera put on in the arab world after a suicide mission!

Uh interesting no? Our public high school kids do have more brains than the leaders of american media!

Who would take the bet that if CBS or ABC or CNN or FOX were sent the video that they too would have aired the video FIRST!

By the way do you ever wonder why we never see footage of 9/11 anymore?
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-20-2007, 01:07 AM   #14
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

I agree that it should not have been aired. And I'm glad I don't watch must TV.

I find it interesting, however, that people seem to be against any form of gun control whatsoever on constitutional grounds, but freedom of the press is obviously not nearly so sacred of a cow. It wasn't his letter to NBC that killed everyone. It was his gun.
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-20-2007, 01:27 AM   #15
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

Free speech is one topic

Thoughtless speech is this topic

just because free speech exists doesn't mean one should support lack of discretion or good judgement that definitely has a massive impact on the public.
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-20-2007, 01:30 AM   #16
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by bright eyed
Free speech is one topic

Thoughtless speech is this topic

just because free speech exists doesn't mean one should support lack of discretion or good judgement that definitely has a massive impact on the public.
true enough--point well taken
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-20-2007, 06:13 AM   #17
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

Frankly I've been avoiding coverage of this entire incident. It's horrific and terribly tragic, but I find the rabid media coverage of the whole thing extremely distastful - kind of insult to injury. I've pretty much been keeping the TV off for any national news coverage. This one could take weeks to settle down.

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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-20-2007, 12:11 PM   #18
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

"...I find the rabid media coverage of the whole thing extremely distastful - kind of insult to injury."

Actually - if you subscribe to the belief that the media's abscessive focus on incidents such as these tends to germinate new copycats - it isn't adding insult to injury. It's adding injury to injury.

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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-20-2007, 01:16 PM   #19
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joss
"...I find the rabid media coverage of the whole thing extremely distastful - kind of insult to injury."

Actually - if you subscribe to the belief that the media's abscessive focus on incidents such as these tends to germinate new copycats - it isn't adding insult to injury. It's adding injury to injury.

Yes, and as one "expert" on violence in the media says... It's all about record breaking. First they called it the deadliest school shooting, then the deadliest shooting in the U.S., etc. etc.

Just makes it that much higher on the pedestal, for the next nutcase to attain a higher number. Its why Guinness Books doesn't put/publish some records in their book. More idiots will come along and try to break it.

For a real barometer on how the media affects people, observe those with mental illness or the homeless, on how this stuff affects them. Go ask random box dwellers what they think. It's interesting.

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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion
Old 04-20-2007, 06:35 PM   #20
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Re: NBC airing of Cho Video - discussion

I no longer watch the local or national news. So far I have avoided the video, but just flipping past stations or through the internet, I'm likely to be exposed. Everything about this affair is sick.
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