Just a Little Common Sense

For a life based on reason, ethics, literature and art.

Posts Tagged ‘Bombing

Ethical Journalism: You’re Doing It Wrong

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CNN - Doing Breivik's bidding.

I’d like you to pay attention to the caption beneath the picture at the top of the screenshot. Here’s what it says:

Anders Breivik’s purported manifesto says he planned every detail of his rampage, down to this photo being released to media. [Emphasis added]

It appears that somebody waltzed into CNN.com’s editor’s office, said something along the lines of ‎”Hey look, there’s this guy who’s just murdered almost 100 people. And here’s some pictures he’d like us to publish. I’ve got a great idea: Let’s publish them, along with a deep, insightful and understanding story on what motivated him, telling the world exactly all those things he wants us to tell the world. Let’s regurgitate his propaganda, word by word. Let’s quote him a lot. Don’t you think that’d make a great story?” – and was applauded all around.

There’s a German word for this: Leichenfledderjournalismus. It’s a compound word that translates to corpse-stripper journalism, describing the kind of journalism that will report anything that sells, completely free of ethical considerations and without any concern or sense of responsibility for the consequences. It’s usually reserved for those selling stories by using unnecessary close-ups of starving children, mortal wounds or giant puddles of blood, but I think it’s quite fitting here.
It’s sickening beyond words to see the world’s big Media outlets being tossed a manifesto explaining in detail how the mass-murderer wants them to behave, just to follow his instructions word-by-word. They publish his pictures, they propagate his views. Anything the star of the hour wishes.

Breivik was to appear in a hearing this monday, the 25th, to “explain” his motives. The residing judge (who apparently has no name) ordered the proceeding “closed for security reasons”, disabling that sicko from propagating his views further. I applaud him. It’s merely a gesture as the mainstream media are doing a better job of spreading Breivik’s propaganda than he could possibly have hoped for, but it’s a gesture of common sense and decency.

PS: I’ve deliberately cut off the picture in question, and just as deliberately I’ve failed to provide a link to the source of both the screenshot and my anger. I do not doubt anybody willing to view the picture won’t have any trouble finding it, but at least they’ll have to do so without my help.

Written by Phil

July 28, 2011 at 10:11

Things a Police Chief Shouldn’t Say

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CNN.com just published an article about the attacks in Norway in which they interviewed Norway’s National Police Chief, Sveinung Sponheim. It’s nothing extraordinary: He talks a bit about the suspect and the situation in general. What made it interesting to me is the phrasing. Here is what he said, regarding the uncertainty of the number of victims of the Oslo bomb attack and the ongoing search for survivors in the damaged structures:

it’s a bit of a jigsaw puzzle and a very difficult search. There are body parts in the buildings,” Sponheim said.

Now I’m not sure if I’m being squeamish saying this, but I think this is incredibly tactless. I think someone whose job consists mainly of making public statements ought to do better than comparing the search for body parts to a puzzle game.

Written by Phil

July 24, 2011 at 10:03

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