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Commentary: Enough, Already!

Whatever interests the public is not necessarily in the public interest.

Perhaps, that statement should now be the guiding principle of the American media. Perhaps, that statement should be added to the principles in the so-called “Code of Ethics” that some journalists may consult on occasion.

What prompts that suggestion is the media circus that is running agog in that small town in Connecticut, following yet another “senseless” mass killing.

Since Congress is too cowardly––or is it the lust of its Members for the money from the gun lobby?––to do anything about the easy access to deadlier and deadlier penis extensions, and since the illiterates on the Supreme Court have decreed that it is every American’s right to own penis extensions and go around killing people, perhaps the media should look within itself and adopt a simple policy: “Do not publish or broadcast the name of the mass-killer.”

What we have learned from the long series of mass-killings is that inadequate nobodies have acquired penis extensions and have suddenly become important people with the power to destroy the lives of other people. Invariably, they also choose to take their own lives, knowing that the media frenzy will publicize their name and achievement, and these once inadequate nobodies will now be somebodies.

But, if the media does not use their names––referring to them as “the murderer” or “the killer”––other inadequate nobodies will see that they, too, will die an unidentified death. This means, of course, that the media does some self-censorship. It means, also, of course, that they don’t interview family members, neighbors, classmates, etc. “X-number of people were killed by someone who shall remain nameless,” should be the report’s head-line, with the barest of details as to where, when, and possibly, how.

The more the media feeds what it perceives is the public’s appetite––the more it learns about the mental state of the mass-murderer––the more it will feed the gun lobby’s obscene claim that “guns don’t kill, people do,” and, thus, makes it easier for the gun lobby to prevent any controls.

We don’t need to know what passed for thinking by the mass-killer. It is enough to know that he used military-style automatic weapons.

We don’t need to know that the mass-killer had an unhappy childhood. It is enough to know that he used military-style automatic weapons.

We don’t need to know that the mass-killer has mentally deranged. It is enough to know that he used military-style automatic weapons.

We don’t need to know “why.” It is enough to know “that.”

Of course, it is people who kill. But it is hardly likely that a killer will be a “mass” killer if his weapon is a nail-studded baseball bat.

If the mass-killer is caught (rather than a suicide), there will be a problem, but it can still fit nicely in the above-stated approach, in that the capture of the mass-killer can be reported, but not his name and not his photograph. This can be extended even through his trial, though his defense attorney will try to get publicity––and, thus, leniency––for his client by showing that the “alleged” killer’s father once denied him an ice-cream cone and that affected the “alleged” killer’s mind. And, so on, with the tripe that defense attorneys bring forth in order to make their own names.

True, there will probably be a news outlet somewhere which will think it beneficial to use the mass-killer’s name and photo and background in order to make gains in listenership and readership over its rivals and competitors. With time––and luck––these few media outlets will be in the minority and may also join the majority.

Suffice it to repeat that he public really doesn’t need to know the names of these inadequate nobodies who have acquired penis extensions and have murdered innocent people, and the media should feel confident in not reporting any names.

Denying the killers the oxygen of publicity they seek may contribute to the reduction of mass-killings. Otherwise, if the public depends on the politicians to protect society, these mass killings will continue.

The media must not assume that because it may interest the public the news report is in the public’s interest.

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