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Monday, December 17, 2007

Urgent Plea to Media: Don't Publicize Suicide Notes

To the producers at CNN, MSNBC and the network news organizations, I am issuing this very sincere plea: do not publicize the suicide notes left behind by mass murderers.

As a communications professional, as a parent and as a human who inhabits this earth, I demand some decency and ethical behavior by those in charge of what gets on television. This is senseless, and it must come to an end.

About 10 days ago, when the networks aired the suicide note, I was running on the treadmill at my local YMCA. I hopped off the machine and shouted at the TV screen, "No way! How can they be doing this--again!" And they did more than just report it, they used the drama of a soon-to-be-reveal suicide note to tease the audience, hyping it at segment openings and closing. How utterly distasteful!

First with Cho at Virginia Tech and now with Hawkins at the shopping mall in Omaha, the national media is fulfilling the deranged desires of these murders by broadcasting their suicide messages to the world. The media is almost encouraging copycat behavior. Hawkins' note, as you probably know, hinted at the fact that his message would be broadcast worldwide, making him "famous."

Am I right or wrong here? Do we not deserve better!

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Shane said...

I have to agree. When you make their suicide notes public you are giving them fame and notoriety they couldn't get while they were alive.

Keep their notes private and let them die in obscurity. Remember their innocent victims instead.

Shane

6:15 PM

 
Blogger Skip Lineberg said...

Shane,
Thanks for reading ... and a special thanks for taking the time to post a comment on media ethics. Glad you agree!

Best regards,
Skip

10:31 PM

 

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