Media Must Stop 'Making Their Day'

February 19, 2008

In December, there was a killing spree in a Nebraska mall where the murderer cast some light on his twisted behavior. His simple goal was to become "famous."

On this past Thursday, another crazed gunman created his own St. Valentine’s Day Massacre by destroying lives of innocent coeds, this time at the Northern Illinois University campus. And by his wanton exterminating of these blameless people and his ruthless inflicting of permanent heartache on their families, the NIU murderer easily achieved his goal of immortality by getting his picture plastered in nationwide newspapers and by prompting television and radio stations to devote endless hours of airtime discussing his loathsome behavior. Is it not time to halt to this sort of self-perpetuating media circus?
   
As branding consultants, we know better than most the power of the media. The continuing and all-encompassing coverage given to these horrendous acts of butchery and mayhem can only serve to encourage more people to seek the spotlight for their murderous rages. If the next person with a grievance and a weapon knew that his photo and life story would not be on the front page of every newspaper in the land, that his self-pitying letters would not be discussed minutely on the nightly news, and that his pathetic life would not be temporarily inflated into one of seeming importance, he might be less tempted to commit a sensational bloodbath.
   
The media must exert some self-control and not misuse their immense power that seems to encourage senseless slaughters like those, which occurred at Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, and a Nebraska mall. If a conscious decision were made to no longer make "famous" the next mass murderer waiting in the wings for his moment of stardom, the single life spared would outweigh the sacrifice in ratings.

It is certainly worth a try.

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