Charlie 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.