It seems odd that in the orgy of recrimination, faux solemnity and glycerine tears of the past few days on the issue of “What can we do?” no one has mentioned something that is A.) Immediate, B) Cheap and C) Bound to be effective and at the least, D) Certainly worth trying. That is if the New York Times, the Washington Post, People Magazine, NBC, CBS, CNN and Fox–Big Media, USA– were to announce, jointly, the following voluntary policy: “As of January 1, 2013, we will not publish or broadcast the name, photograph or background of anyone who attempts or commits a mass murderer of the active shooter variety. Further, we will work within our professional culture to ‘enforce’ this rule until it becomes a cultural norm. Names of killers will only be acknowledged at the time of adjudication or the issuance of a posthumous investigative finding.”
No, you can’t keep the name and identity secret in this time of Internet and text, but you can certainly change the culture so that the killer doesn’t become a week-long rock star under the auspices of corporate media 24/7 overkill. It’s time for the media to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
Sadly, though, I will add one thought about where I believe the author is incorrect. It would not be inexpensive at all for the media to do this. Indeed; it would be incredibly expensive. From tragedy - particularly that of small, sweet children - the MSM reaps tons of income.
So - I applaud the idea. To put it into practice, however, the MSM would have to sacrifice profits. Perhaps if they did, then the public would regain some shreds of respect for the MSM - and in turn, be more supportive?