5 Ways Liberal News Media Encourages Mass Shootings
In 2014, a longstanding law that prohibited the federal government from propagandizing the American people was repealed. This was all that was needed to take the lid off of years of totalitarian left-wing messaging.
We also know that agencies like the CIA have had programs to infiltrate and control major media organizations since at least the 1950s. There were public hearings on it in the 70s, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper even admits to being a former CIA employee.
We also know intelligence agencies have expressed acute interest in disabling the ability of the American people to make sound independent decisions about just about anything. Our favorite example is the Frankensteinian creation known as modern art. But that’s another subject for another day.
Our interest here is the media’s complicity in the phenomenon of mass shootings- in particular- school shootings.
Leading psychologists agree on the effect that standard boilerplate coverage for mass shootings encourages copycats. In 2015, Dr. Park Dietz, a forensic psychiatrist told reporters, “Every time we have intense saturation coverage of mass murder, we expect to see one or two more within a week.”
Feeding into Narcissistic Fatalism
In a 2014 interview, Dietz warned, “The longer we continue the coverage, the more colorful, emotionally-arousing and biographical about the shooter that coverage is, the more imitators we can expect to attract.”
Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson agrees. He contends that shooters like those who committed the Columbine shootings labored under a narcissistic nihilism fed into by the prospect of having their deeds broadcast widely. Their nihilistic despair, he argues, fuels the desire to shock the world with the depth of their emptiness.
In the age of social media- the fuel to this fire is so much more potent.
Enabling Copycat Killings
Sherry Towers, the leading author on a study that came to the same conclusion as Dietz, said, “What we found was, in ones that didn’t get a lot of media attention there was no contagion, and in the ones where we did see a lot of media attention, that’s where we saw the contagion.”
It’s a similar effect as that we have seen in rashes of suicides- particularly among the young. It appears merely talking about suicide increases the likelihood that people will consider it an option.
The singular interest in ratings we’ve seen in the big networks is a major contributing factor to the contagion. By sensationalizing school shootings with raving graphics, musical fanfare, and hand-wringing reporters, the media drives the frenzy to kill through the roof.
Bruce Shapiro, the executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism says, “To reduce copycats and lionizing, reporters have a special responsibility to portray with precision and accuracy the estrangement of these perpetrators, and to scrupulously avoid language or images that could romanticize their actions.”
“Am I Trending Yet?”
In high profile violent acts, we’ve seen the events broadcast live by the perpetrators themselves. No doubt, many relish the instant gratification of a 24/7 news cycle/social-media response.
After an attack in July of 2015, Newsweek wrote, “Sometimes reporters know information about the shooters even before the police do, as was the case in Marysville, Washington last October, when Jaylen Fryberg shot five friends before killing himself. (Four of the victims later died.)”
They quote Marysville Police Chief Rick Smith as saying, “The media responded right away. They were putting [the shooter’s] face out on TV way before we really had any information internally.”
In today’s non-stop 24-hour news cycle, would be shooters hatch their schemes with the expectation of enjoying their own infamy in real time as it blossoms like a mushroom cloud.
Irresponsible Reporting Blames the Wrong people
The urge reporters feel to show their alignment with a political view also contributes to the problem.
Shapiro warns reporters, “Be careful about rushing out with unconfirmed or early information or social media rumors, which turn out to be inaccurate or which will propagate myths. Be attentive to the dignity of victims and survivors as you choose images and conduct interviews, and don’t get seduced by the rush for ‘gotcha’ interviews with supposed witnesses or experts who turn out to have little to say.”
Today’s politically-driven news cycle leans heavily on these kinds of stories. This means reporters have an even greater obligation to report mass shootings responsibly. The idea that newsrooms are unaware of the effect their reports have on future shootings is absurd. Journalists and their editors must be held to account when their work makes future killings more likely.