Duck and coverage

Image by Flickr user Roby72. Click for sourceCharlie Brooker’s Newswipe is a comedy news analysis programme that often has a serious point. A recent episode had a section examining TV coverage of the tragic school shooting that recently occurred in Germany and its relation to the motivations of potential copycat killers.

The video clip contrasts the advice of a forensic psychiatrist on how to cover the story in the media to prevent further tragedies and the actual coverage the incident received. I’m sure you can guess the rest.

The forensic psychiatrist being interviewed is Park Dietz, who frequently appears in the media but who has also done a great deal of research in the area, including the classic article ‘Mass, serial and sensational homicides’ where he noted that publicity was a major factor in driving these sorts of public killing sprees.

This was published in 1986 and more than 20 years later satirists are being fed material by TV stations who can’t resist sensationalist coverage.

Both funny and uncomfortably chilling.

Link to Newswipe on media coverage of school shooting.
Link to full text of ‘Mass, serial and sensational homicides’.

One thought on “Duck and coverage”

  1. That was a great video. I know I was cringing at all the coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting last year. But if they’re going to provide the coverage I wanted to watch it. Its hard to get the news media to comply on something like this because the gory details are what draw viewers. Its just like rubbernecking on the freeway. Everyone hates the traffic it causes but we all turn our heads and hit the brakes when we finally get to the front of the line.
    Situations like this strike me as a kind of breakdown of the invisible hand really. Everyone is acting in their own self-interest to screw themselves in the long run. Normally when the invisible hand is guiding us where we don’t want to go I say let legislation solve the problem. But I don’t know how you could constitutionally legislation this problem away.

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