April 18, 2007

Should NBC Have Aired The Cho Package?

In the two-hour spell between the two groups of murders at Virginia Tech Monday, the murderer packaged pictures, videos, and a typed manifesto produced over the previous week and sent them off to NBC in New York. With a return address name of "A. Ishmael", Seung-hui Cho mailed his legacy to the wrong address and incorrect zip code, delaying the delivery by a full day, but succeeded in placing it in the hands of an organization that earns its living by reporting information.

Should NBC have published this material? So far, the commentariat appears opposed to both the decision to publish the material and the manner in which it was handled. Mona Charen says that NBC is feeding the next monster:

NBC is doing something extremely stupid by running those photos the Virginia Tech shooter sent them. Are they crazy? This will encourage every publicity seeking loser in the world to do something similar to get himself on TV. Foolish.

Stephen Spruiell, also at The Corner, grants that some of the package could get aired in a responsible manner, but believes that NBC hasn't thought it through long enough:

NBC News will reportedly air portions of a video it received from homicidal lunatic Cho Seung-Hui on its 6:30 p.m. broadcast, 15 minutes from now. I assume I share with many Americans a morbid curiosity about what's contained on that video. But NBC News is about to give Cho an audience of around 10 million people for his deranged rantings. What kind of message does this send to other isolated, disturbed and angry youths who entertain the same violent thoughts as Cho?

Ed Driscoll makes a good point when he points out that sports broadcasters will not show people who interrupt events by running onto a field or court during a game. Why, then, give Cho the posthumous satisfaction? He also says that NBC is blowing itin the way they used it for marketing:

The photos themselves are newsworthy, and should be released to the public. What I find discouraging is how they're used as part of the Webpage's graphic design, solely to build controversy and hits, to the MSNBC site.

Hot Air is ambivalent:

Spruiell thinks this is a bad call by NBC too. I think it’s a close call, but I’m not sure I agree.

I disagree, for the most part, with the above sentiments. I agree with Stephen and Ed D that the manner in which NBC incorporated the photos into a graphics image for the story is in poor taste. I believe Stephen makes the point that the shot almost looks like a movie poster, and its use slides over the line from reporting to exploitation. I'd also criticize the manner in which NBC apparently decided to split its publication between the Nightly News program tonight and Today tomorrow. It looks like an obvious ploy for ratings, and it's rather unseemly, given the deadly circumstances of the story.

However, NBC was correct to report the contents of the package. In most circumstances, society is served better by the free dissemination of information, unless its release would put directly put lives in danger -- like, say, exposing national-security programs that had stopped terrorists from killing Americans. In this case, the crime has already been committed and the perpetrator is dead. Holding back the material would boost all sorts of rumors about Cho's involvement in any number of conspiracies, including radical Islam, that are already the subject of much speculation.

NBC made the right decision to go public, and to work with law enforcement to determine which material to release at the time, as they apparently did. They unfortunately overshadowed that correct decision with the very incorrect decision on marketing the materials. They sensationalized material that absolutely required no such effort -- and degraded their credibility as a result.

UPDATE: Howard Kurtz asks the same question.

UPDATE II: Huffington Post's Eat the Press has a roundup of the reactions that should interest both sides of the debate.


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» MSNBC.Com: Whoring For Hits from Ed Driscoll.com
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As expected, NBC will have more at it’s 6:00 broadcast and continue with more tomorrow morning. I believe that the video and manifesto are noteworthy. It’s the piecemeal type of release that I disagree with. Perhaps MSNBC should wait until the ... [Read More]

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» Should NBC Have Aired The Cho Package? from NoisyRoom.net
Courtesy of Captain’s Quarters: In the two-hour spell between the two groups of murders at Virginia Tech Monday, the murderer packaged pictures, videos, and a typed manifesto produced over the previous week and sent them off to NBC in New York.... [Read More]

Comments (49)

Posted by docjim505 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 7:50 PM

Gotta agree with Allahpundit at Hot Air: close call.

On the one hand, maybe we should make Cho an "unperson" lest some other sicko get the idea that he can follow in Cho's bloody footprints to his own fifteen minutes of (posthumous) fame.

On the other, maybe this will spur people to realize that there are monsters like Cho in the world, and that we've got to do something to stop them before they strike.

I can't help commenting: can you imagine the firestorm if that psycho had sent his ramblings to Fox instead of NBC?

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 7:54 PM

This is pornography for murderers.


Boycott Imus?

Bankrupt NBC.

Posted by AntonK [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 8:19 PM

With the airing of such graphic photography and video, it's only a matter of time 'till someone else grabs the nearest weapon (gun, bomb, gasoline, baseball bat) and commences to killin'... And the news media think guns are the problem!?

10, 9, 8, 7 ,6, 5, 4 ......

Posted by Fred [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 8:29 PM

Cho knew where to find a friend in his hour of need.

Posted by Only_One_Cannoli [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 8:40 PM

It is news and should be shown but it should be done with a whole lot more care than NBC is exercising. I have a little criticism for Brian Williams. He's holding what I assume are copies of Cho's mailed papers, personally handling them, and hand-flipping pages of photos and text for the camera. It's too intimate. I think that projects the wrong message -- here's a way to literally put your message into the hands of a celebrity news anchor.

NBC should be using a more clinical approach. They ought to show excerpts from a handful of the papers and pause frequently to hear the opinions of a criminal psychologist.

Posted by Lightwave [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 8:40 PM

Best part of this?

Keith "How Dare You Mister President!" Olbermouth's site apparently promised stacked wall-to-wall coverage of Cho's incoherent garbage on his show tonight.

The hypocrisy is staggering.

I would have to think that Fox News would have done a much better job. There's a huge difference between reporting what was in the package and throwing the pictures around every 10 seconds and calling it "breaking news" for hours. That is not exactly responsible journalism from a credible news source.

But then again, we're talking NBC here.

Posted by sanethinker [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 8:43 PM

They ought to pass a law that no serial killers names or photos are allowed to be published. This would take the incentive out of it for these nuts who see themselves as victims. They could treat them like the treat under age criminals.

Posted by gull [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 8:47 PM

I refuse to speak or write his name. I work with many clients who have similar personality disorders -- God forbid that one of them were identify with him.

What redeeming value did society gain in seeing the images or videos? None. How much more agony must families and survivors endure?

I'm sure NBC only intended for normal and disassociated folks to watch. NBC: Nothing But Classless.

Posted by Lew [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 8:48 PM

At some point every employee of a news organization has to decide whether or not they are just a journalist or perhaps something more. Like a citizen, or an American, or a responsible member of a human community.

At some point everyone has to decide that their craft or their job or their career or their profession, only defines a part of who they are and not the totality. Adult life, if one lives it as a responsible and responsive member of society, demands more of us than a narrow and blinkered adherence to the requirements of how we make our money. NBC News is more than just a trumpet for whoever happens to be blowing that day. In the same way that IBM is more than just a computer company and Starbucks is more than just a coffee shop and Exxon Mobil is more than just an energy company. NBC is a large and powerful American media company and that power and that "American-ness" demand a responsibility beyond mere ratings and ad sales and stockholder wealth.

Earth to NBC - grow up!

Posted by the27yanks [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 8:50 PM

It should all be made available. The more that his personality and mental illness is documented, the easier it may be to spot the next potential killer, before it happens. There are many troubled people out there, most are not being noticed or being helped. Viewing how this guy acts and rambles just may inspire a parent, teacher or classmate to reach out with help to someone that's potentially dangerous. I suspect that mental health centers around the country will be getting a large spike in business over the next few months.

Posted by jaeger51 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 8:58 PM

I have to agree with the idea that publicizing this Cho's work only encourages other borderliners to consider going out in a blaze of "glory".......especially showing the pics, which seem to be planned by him to look dramatic and menacing in a very movielike way. By the way, read Ann Coulter today...she's spot on again. This whole incident could have been minimalized if someone or two with a concealed carry permit had been on scene.

Posted by sam pender [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 9:32 PM

Air it
don't air it

But censoring it seems stupid.

Oh NO! Hearing the mass murderer use the F word would be offensive

c'mon, what moron said, "Oh, make sure and bleep that out or we'll get letters."

Posted by james23 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 9:38 PM

No--how many copycats will this inspire?

NBC is revolting, but so is Fox. I couldn't take Hannity&colmes tonight, it was just a 60 minute Cho celebration. There is something seriously wrong with the folks who run all of our TV news. Immoral.

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 9:48 PM

I didn't watch it.

So, as far as I'm concerned, NBC can run this footage to its heart's content. It's their machinery. And, ya know what? I doubt it will make a dint or a dent in their over all ratings.

Peculiar, though, that this Cho character tapped into a bloody vein. And, even got to make his outrageous video. While Virginia Tech's school's administrators did NOTHING OF VALUE.

Why did these pictures go out?

You're not surprised the kid didn't hunker down somewhere to hide? Instead he toodles to the post office?

I guess not hearing helicopters overhead, got his attention. Not hearing sirens. Or even the barking dogs of the swat team must have given him a worried end. I kid you not. He killed himself before he really new if the story would ever get out. So, I guess the package, was his attempt not to be seen and heard.

Not that he was much of a talker at school.

And, not as if any of the kids attending this institution were ever safe!

My gosh. Calling a fellow student in to problem solve this one, shows ya HOW the tragedy got compounded by the flakes who let this hooey pass for soft-science social dialog.

No, it's not okay to charge $40,000 (more or less) per semester for this crap!

And, the other thing I think is a lesson, here? The administrators sat on this one "thinking" that it would be kept secret. "Just another campus shooting," ya know. And, the school didn't want the bad publicity.

Sometimes the dogs don't bark.

And, here? The lack of signs that the cops were called had the mad man turn to the TV reporters; sort'a going over the heads of the school officials, I guess.

If that's what you want to buy with your education dollars, fine by me.

But instead of hand-wringing of NBC, lelt's grow up. And, establish that the ROTC is a benefit on campus! Real POLICE, instead of the hooey-idiots selling you unrealistic "happy juice," have no idea who to reach kids. How to keep them safe. And, we're talking HERE. Where for the first time in kids' lives, they're away from home.

It was supposed to be an experience that helped them grow up.

Now? Oh, now, they are old.

Why didn't one kid pull the fire alarm?

Why didn't one kid take out a cell phone, and dial 911?

Just like on those planes. Airlines once went out of their way to tell passengers to "cooperate" when being taken hostage.

At what cost did you learn "cooperation" doesn't work?

Where were you on 9/11, when you heard?

Events like this are turning points.

What happens next? Nope. Not up to the politicians. Not up to the honchos at NBC. But it's up to individuals to understand that sometimes you need to fight back.

I'm reminded of a story told by Daniel Pipe's dad. He was a harvard professor, who had gone to work for Reagan, early. He disliked the way academics aways refused to solve problems.

And, among the stories he relates in the book I read, he talked about being in Moscow. In 1991. When there were the Rodney King riots.

And, Russian TV went wall-to-wall, with the coverage. Only thing, most russians had no idea what America was like. And, they believed as bad as things were in russia; they were worse in the USA. So they lowered the sound, and watched State TV. Their eyes popped out of their heads! Poor people had stores with so many TV's in them; that cars were driving up, and exiting with merchandise.

Oh, they also noticed the jeans. And, the Nike's. ANd, they were impressed. We had so much "stuff" on the shelves, it dawned on the russians their government had been lying about the USA's abject poverty.

So, there ya go. A TV event that "changed minds." But not the way the authorities, assumed.

Then, the story continues down in the subway system of Moscow. Where a train, with broken doors, pulls into a station. And, nothing opens. NOBODY HELPS! This is a trained behavior in communist countries. Nobody trusts the next fellow. And, many don't even trust their own mother's.

So those who wanted to get off at that station? Couldn't.

To compare, Pipe's (the dad), said if this had been a New York City train, people who were strangers, would have gotten up. And, men would have pulled the doors open from each side.

Ah. Then, he said. TEL AVIV. Go figa. The Israelis would have taken the doors off their hinges.

Different societies react differently. Most don't react "cowed." To cow people, you've got to train them.

On 9/11, we know that on one flight, #93, which landed in a Pennsylvania field; the passengers; who started out as strangers; said, in unison "LET'S ROLL." Sure. They saw the murdered airline stewardesses. They were made to feel the fear.

But they reacted. And, the terrorists didn't win that one.

The terrorists, ahead, will win fewer and fewer carnage routines.

Heck, in Israel, where once there had been hope for peace, this is no longer the case. And, in spite of the European communities sing-song about "not building walls, kumbaya, they built them. And, they work.

When our children go away from home, for the first time, to college; it should not be freaks teaching them UNtruths. The world's a complicated place.

Truth hangs out even when NBC runs with the footage. And, you can choose to watch. Or not.

Now, let's say small kids home for school, automatically turn on the TV' for company," before their parents get home from work?

Families need to set priorities on what they discuss.

And, a female child is not too young to learn that there are crazy people out there! Before you have to call "your Uncle Vinny," you should have really sincere heart-to-hearts.

Ya know? It's been a while since I've dated. But I can remember my mom always slipping me a ten-dollar bill. If a date looked crazy I was told to call a cab. AND COME HOME.

No, I'd never call a fellow student, to ask him to come by, to calm a crazy down. Those folks need their kneecaps busted. Or, at least, call the cops.

When I was young, cops walked the beat. And, the litle kiddy books I read, portrayed the local policeman as your friend. Sometimes? You even knew their names.

Has all that gone, now? WHY?

Posted by Rhymes With Right [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 9:59 PM

I've got a different point to make -- what about the supposed journalistic ethical requirement to NOT turn evidence of crimes over to the authorities? You know -- like who leaked the name of supposedly covert CIA agents and information about sensitive national security programs that were successfully combating terrorists.

I guess that such ethical considerations only come into play when the media outlet does not support the crime that has been committed.


Posted by RBMN [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 10:20 PM

I wonder what they think about all this in Korea. Cho is a fairly common family name and Seung is probably a fairly common boy's name. There must be several hundred thousand Koreans named Cho Seung who wish they had a different name today.

Posted by GarandFan [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 10:23 PM

The only thing NBC didn't do was include a graphic with their correct mailing address. The next crazy loon may get their stuff published the same day on prime time. Cho got what he wanted, his 15 minutes of fame, thanks to NBC. Sure, they sent everything to the FBI, after they took the time to make copies.

Posted by Joshua [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 11:05 PM

Had this massacre been the work of, say, a jihadist, and the material he sent to NBC acknowledged as much, then it would have been newsworthy, as it would have effectively turned the massacre into an Islamic terrorist attack on US soil. (Of course, in that case NBC surely would never have aired it, for that very same reason.)

But all this was just the delusional ramblings of a world-class nutcase, speaking and acting on his own behalf, not Allah's or anyone else's. As such, it had no newsworthiness at all.

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 11:08 PM

Lucianne just posted a Mark Steyn piece. He nails the problem.

A Culture of Passivity
"Protecting" our "children" at Virginia Tech.

By Mark Steyn

I haven’t weighed in yet on Virginia Tech — mainly because, in a saner world, it would not be the kind of incident one needed to have a partisan opinion on. But I was giving a couple of speeches in Minnesota yesterday and I was asked about it and found myself more and more disturbed by the tone of the coverage. I’m not sure I’m ready to go the full Derb but I think he’s closer to the reality of the situation than most. On Monday night, Geraldo was all over Fox News saying we have to accept that, in this horrible world we live in, our “children” need to be “protected.”

A Culture of Passivity 04/18

With a Majority Like This . . . 04/24

The Anything They Believe In 04/13

The Most Wrecked People On Earth 03/27

Smaller Than Life 03/13

Jihad, Jihad, Everywhere 02/27

May: After the Fall

Hanson: One Step Too Far

Editors: Partial Victory

Buckley: Political Blockbuster Ahead

Steyn: A Culture of Passivity

Connerly: An Affair at the Heart of Speech

Ikenson: Big Foot, Unicorns, and Pro-Trade Democrats

Eden: No Accounting for Chaste

Nordlinger: A nation like no other, &c.

Brugger: Making Sense Out of the Senseless

Bowman: We Need More Heroes

Editors: Blue Ridge Evil

Goldberg: P.C. Kabuki Theater

Malkin: Wanted: A Culture of Self-Defense

Point one: They’re not “children.” The students at Virginia Tech were grown women and — if you’ll forgive the expression — men. They would be regarded as adults by any other society in the history of our planet. Granted, we live in a selectively infantilized culture where twentysomethings are “children” if they’re serving in the Third Infantry Division in Ramadi but grown-ups making rational choices if they drop to the broadloom in President Clinton’s Oval Office. Nonetheless, it’s deeply damaging to portray fit fully formed adults as children who need to be protected. We should be raising them to understand that there will be moments in life when you need to protect yourself — and, in a “horrible” world, there may come moments when you have to choose between protecting yourself or others. It is a poor reflection on us that, in those first critical seconds where one has to make a decision, only an elderly Holocaust survivor, Professor Librescu, understood instinctively the obligation to act.

Point two: The cost of a “protected” society of eternal “children” is too high. Every December 6th, my own unmanned Dominion lowers its flags to half-mast and tries to saddle Canadian manhood in general with the blame for the “Montreal massacre,” the 14 female students of the Ecole Polytechnique murdered by Marc Lepine (born Gamil Gharbi, the son of an Algerian Muslim wife-beater, though you’d never know that from the press coverage). As I wrote up north a few years ago:

Yet the defining image of contemporary Canadian maleness is not M Lepine/Gharbi but the professors and the men in that classroom, who, ordered to leave by the lone gunman, meekly did so, and abandoned their female classmates to their fate — an act of abdication that would have been unthinkable in almost any other culture throughout human history. The “men” stood outside in the corridor and, even as they heard the first shots, they did nothing. And, when it was over and Gharbi walked out of the room and past them, they still did nothing. Whatever its other defects, Canadian manhood does not suffer from an excess of testosterone.

I have always believed America is different. Certainly on September 11th we understood. The only good news of the day came from the passengers who didn’t meekly follow the obsolescent 1970s hijack procedures but who used their wits and acted as free-born individuals. And a few months later as Richard Reid bent down and tried to light his shoe in that critical split-second even the French guys leapt up and pounded the bejasus out of him.

We do our children a disservice to raise them to entrust all to officialdom’s security blanket. Geraldo-like “protection” is a delusion: when something goes awry — whether on a September morning flight out of Logan or on a peaceful college campus — the state won’t be there to protect you. You’ll be the fellow on the scene who has to make the decision. As my distinguished compatriot Kathy Shaidle says:

When we say “we don’t know what we’d do under the same circumstances”, we make cowardice the default position.

I’d prefer to say that the default position is a terrible enervating passivity. Murderous misfit loners are mercifully rare. But this awful corrosive passivity is far more pervasive, and, unlike the psycho killer, is an existential threat to a functioning society.

— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone.

Posted by hw4892 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 18, 2007 11:31 PM

Just sent the Denver NBC affiliate an email. They mentioned Columbine and, of course, used the killers' names and showed their pictures. This is obscene - it makes them immortal and idolizes them, which is just what they wanted. Please, no more mentioning of their names, no posting of their pictures; please, just the names and pictures of those killed.
Also, had a long talk with my college-student son yesterday. He, also, could not understand why so few took any action against the killer. He commented that his laptop could stop a .22, and his history book would slow down a 9mm - but he shoots and understands guns. Yes, he also lives at a "gun-free" college.

Posted by NahnCee [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 12:19 AM

I didn't watch NBC news because I never watch TV news any more. I have looked at the shooter's pictures, though, and found them interesting. I don't think they're obscene or pornographic - I think they're evidence. Or anyway, that's how I'm experiencing them, looking at them. Now I understand more fully what people who knew him are describing when they say he was "troubled". There's a lot of rage and hatred in his face and I can't for the life of me understand why, which I guess means he's insane. Which is quite a few steps past the line of "troubled".

Posted by richard mcenroe [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 12:20 AM

Cho won.

NBC gave him everything he wanted: attention, an airing of his grievances, and the satisfaction of making a large organization do his bidding

His actions were rational and appropriate to their ends, and they have been rewarded.

That is the lesson of this whole tragedy.

Posted by NahnCee [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 12:26 AM

I didn't watch NBC news because I never watch TV news any more. I have looked at the shooter's pictures, though, and found them interesting. I don't think they're obscene or pornographic - I think they're evidence. Or anyway, that's how I'm experiencing them, looking at them. Now I understand more fully what people who knew him are describing when they say he was "troubled". There's a lot of rage and hatred in his face and I can't for the life of me understand why, which I guess means he's insane. Which is quite a few steps past the line of "troubled".

Posted by David2 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 1:29 AM

Thank you Mona for focusing on the important issue, the next monster. What's the plan to stop him? Oh, wait, first the FBI is going to gather as much data as possible about known monsters, including the new one and then find him. Or not. what to do with him if he is found? Treat him! Lock him up, forever! Give him a million dollars if he promises to move to LA and give up his evil ways.
All the discussions are so predictable. Dust them off and fill the time slots with them. Until the shock has worn off and everyone goes back to all the other routine discussions. While the next monster grows taller and more crazy.
It's the lottery of horror. Mark Steyn is right. How can they be children? They are adults who have no right to prepare their defence according to our laws. The idea of guns in a school, even if they are locked up in a safe, is horrible, to some. It will never happen. I was looking at stun guns on the internet. They are pretty cheap. I am going to get one for my son. He goes to VCU. I decided to do it after reading Steyn's column.
If I lived in Massachusetts I couldn't purchase the device on the internet and have it delivered to me.
Same deal in about eight other states and several cities. That's not right. But I doubt I will hear any discussion about it on the airwaves.
The next monster is out there growing more insane. It's okay for NBC to feed him. But it's not okay to try and protect the children.
As I say, all the words from Geraldo and the rest are so predictable and so lame.
So many people have been destroyed by this. And government is going to do nothing about it so it won't happen again. The students will have no idea where to go next time they hear shots except out the window. Because we can't have a gun in a school, even if it's in a safe. Just sit tight and wait for the police to arrive.
The students will be unprotected. The monsters will be protected. And someone who supports this status quo may be elected president shortly.
And there won't be any, or precious little, discussion about that on the airwaves
It's true that monsters shouldn't be able to get guns. After we find him, if he doesn't want the money or the trip to LA, then let's make sure he can't have any guns. Let's stop the sale of guns. We will need to find them all, of course. Billions of them. Confiscate and destroy them. Stop the manufacture of new one.
It's a mad world we live in.

Posted by Nikolay [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 2:40 AM

"Had this massacre been the work of, say, a jihadist, and the material he sent to NBC acknowledged as much, then it would have been newsworthy, as it would have effectively turned the massacre into an Islamic terrorist attack on US soil. (Of course, in that case NBC surely would never have aired it, for that very same reason.)

But all this was just the delusional ramblings of a world-class nutcase, speaking and acting on his own behalf, not Allah's or anyone else's. As such, it had no newsworthiness at all."

OK. So, what were NBC's options? If they didn't air it, you would say that they were covering up the Muslim traces. To forge his confessions so that they would look like he's a jihadist?

Posted by Adjoran [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 2:54 AM

Airing the video encourages other psychotic losers to do the same thing. It was easily possible to publish the manifesto and the still photos without releasing the video monologue.

But when your ratings are down, any old sensational thing to boost them is fair game under the Old Media rules.

Posted by Richard [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 6:16 AM

"I couldn't take Hannity&colmes tonight, "

Same here. I watched about the first 15-20 minutes, and then switched channels. Over, and over, and over again they kept those pictures on the screen and kept playing the videos. Sickening. And I love FoxNews. And Hannity`s farcical attempt to try to link this to al-Qaeda was laughable.

Posted by Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 6:18 AM

I think it was foollish to put all this on the air. It is evidence of a crime, not entertainment.

Posted by SoldiersMom [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 6:50 AM

From the headlines yesterday, I knew this guy had sent in tapes, etc. I intentionally did not tune to any TV news last night and won't for a week or more until this his died down.

I will not be a contribute to feeding this monster and possibly creating new ones.

I'm with Terrye. This was a crime, not entertainment. There needs to be a law.

Posted by Hermie [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 7:14 AM

The only way NBC would not have aired the package is if it contained any of the 'Mohammed' cartoons.

That would've been 'insensitive'.

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 7:20 AM

For those blogs criticizing NBC for showing this, haven't they also given Cho an audience by posting every detail about him as soon as they discover it?

Wouldn't that also encourage any isolated nut-job seeking attention?

I mean, the attention blogs gave to Ismail Ax is in the same ballpark as airing these videos, in my opinion.

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 7:44 AM

"I mean, the attention blogs gave to Ismail Ax is in the same ballpark as airing these videos, in my opinion."

Oh please, it's not even in the same county as the ballpark.

He mailed his little video to NBC, not to a blog. He wanted to get on TV.

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 8:04 AM

I'm down with the Hugh Hewitt take on this...

The Single Worst Editorial Decision In The History Of Broadcast News?
Posted by Hugh Hewitt | 10:48 PM

Soon after the press conference at which it was disclosed that NBC had received a package of print, photos and video materials from the Virginia Tech murderer, I interviewed Howard Kurtz about how NBC should handle it. (The transcript will be here later this evening.) We quickly agreed that any video should not be shown, and while I think that Howard thought perhaps a picture could be aired, I and the live audience I was broadcasting in front of disagreed. I would have published --instantly-- the text of the killer's statement's for the public to read, but I would have denied the killer the instant video glorification he so obviously desired, an immortalization which other deranged killers of the future will almost certainly seek to emulate. NBC decided differently.

Two days ago I shared a stage with NBC News president Steve Capus. Earlier today I commented on what I considered to be his cluelessness about the contempt in which MSM is held as well as my amazement at Capus' pride in MSM's Katrina coverage. Tonight I am dumbfounded by his --and his colleagues'-- decision-making in this matter. Instantly their decision to air the video and publish the pictures revolted vast numbers of ordinary Americans of all political opinions. (My sister-in-law, a very, very liberal individual, just said to me that "I don't recall ever hearing of anything so irresponsible.") I heard an outraged clinical psychiatrist from NYU University denouncing the decision in the harshest terms on Los Angeles radio station KNX. The airing of the pictures and video is obviously a hurtful and destructive act, one that will prime many killing pumps in the years ahead, and one obviously made on the fly by individuals of almost no experience with or curiosity about the deranged mind. Would it have killed Capus et al to ask around a bit about what to do? Of course not, but their decision could indeed kill others down the road. They acted as their own guides, because that is the way the business works. In their very, very closed world, it made sense. To the vast majority of Americans it was an appalling, horrific decision, far worse than what Don Imus had to say last week. As my producer asked this afternoon: Will Capus fire himself for the offense he has given the families of the victims and the rest of the country as well?

Other print stories may have harmed the country more --the New York Times' and Los Angeles Times' cavalier dismissal of national security in their stories that published national security secrets about our efforts to capture or kill terrorists come to mind.

But Dan Rather's and Mary Mapes' previous high-water mark in broadcast news' indifference to the public good has been trumped. NBC now stands for Nothing But Contempt for its audience. It was a shameful thing that the network did, and I doubt I will ever willingly watch NBC news again. Will even one "journalist" have the spine to quit?

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 8:04 AM

It absolutely is. He left a cryptic message on his arm. You don't do that so people WON'T talk about it.

I just find it very hypocritical that over the past three days there have probably been thousands of blog entries about this guy, with I don't know how many more thousand postings, and people are criticizing NBC for giving him a platform.

Even here, there's a thread on Ismail Ax that links to his one act play. If NBC is wrong for airing his video, wouldn't captain also be wrong for linking to his play?

In the end, I agree with Captain. I don't see dissiminating information as a bad thing. And just who is NBC to decide whether we should be able to see these videos or not? It's very tough situation to be in. I would tend to err on showing them.

Whether or not NBC was right in airing them, fact is, people are watching them. And even before they were aired, people were discussing this guy, his writings and the cryptic message on his arm.

The "sin" of giving this guy the attention he wanted was already committed prior to NBC airing the videos.

Posted by hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 8:05 AM

Until the MSM purges itself completely of the'false but true' corruption, their judgement on important issues will be compromised. There may have been information in that pile of offal sent by the killer that could have helped police. Instead NBC made a reality of the parody movie "Network" and put it out there for all the world. How many mentally ill creeps are practicing that ruthless look, that rap-inspired brandishing of the pistol, that video game inpsired vest? Cho just brings it all together in his psychotic breakdown, and NBC makes sure that every sicko in America and the world gets to see how to do it.to them it is just a ratings game. The fact that they make a sick, disgusting killer a hero to other twisted people is just not important.
It is now clear that the generations of cinemtaic, video game and television violence is bearing the cruel fruit many people predicted.
Maybe the real lesson of NBC is that it is simply time to simply Turn. Them. Off. All of them- TV, video games, movies. They have turned us into a sick misxture of passively watching their bilge, and desensitized to violence while reducing our critical thinking skills. We have made millionaires of people who simply pretend and read or memorize what other people write. There is no difference, essentially between the MSM's journalists and actors.
It is time to Turn. Them. Off.

Posted by docjim505 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 8:32 AM

Tom Shipley,

While I think you've got a good point about blogs (and radio, and TV, and newspapers) giving this monster plenty of attention prior to the release of the tapes by NBC, I also think that there's a difference of degree in talking about a monster and giving him a free, national soapbox.

I can't help but believe that, to a deranged mind, the idea of "being on TV" is far, far more attractive than a more pedestrian "people will be talking about me".

At any rate, this ducks the Cap'n's initial question: should NBC and the rest of the media aired this psycho's rambling videos?

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 8:42 AM

Doc, as I said before, I think I would err on showing them. Though NBC could have gone about it in a more "tasteful" manner.

However, I wouldn't criticizing them for not showing the video. It's very tough call.

I think in the future, if this happens again, you probably won't see the news organizations showing a tape like this. The irony, of course, is that the tape would almost inevitably make it on to the Internet.

Posted by Rovin [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 8:51 AM

Cho who? The sooner all of this is aired,blogged, and put to bed, the sooner we can all put this scum of the earth out of the minds of any who see this as any form of glorification.

I will from this time forward only refer to this person as scum, and the lowest form of humanity------to be scorned. There was no life in this satanic soul.

Only the precious lives he took should be glorified and pond scum should only be sanitized.

Posted by Richard [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 9:21 AM

"I can't help but believe that, to a deranged mind, the idea of "being on TV" is far, far more attractive than a more pedestrian "people will be talking about me".

Exactly. Given a choice between being talked about or having a video he made televised repeatedly to a worldwide audience, a sick mind like his would of course prefer the latter. He wanted the television media to do what they did, and they knowlingly and gleefully obliged him.

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 9:23 AM

"Next: NBC's new Fall Lineup: American Psycho Idol!"

"Watch as we promote, I mean thoughtfully furrow our brow, over 5 psychotic murderers per week!"

Don't think it's not possible. Our media vultures will feast on the carrion, as long as they can drink the blood money. What's the next nut job going to do, to improve on Cho's video? Attach a video camera to his head and mail it off prior to checking out?

If NBC had any morals, ethics or integrity, they would have burned this package upon receipt. NBC is garbage.

I have nothing but absolute contempt for each and every employee of NBC, right down to the guy who empties their dumpsters.

Posted by samharker [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 9:36 AM

I watch local news on an NBC affiliate. My newscaster announced that when NBC received the killer's package, it "immediately" turned it over to law enforcement. Well, almost immediately. Must have a copy for broadcast. I thought it was evidence.

Posted by akabaseball [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 10:12 AM

I have a feeling that segments of the manifesto will not be aired? They did not have a problem airing the part where he refers to his death as Jesus-Like. I bet there is an association to another religion! The cooperation between Law and NBC will be to keep that off the air. If the almighty truth telling NBC is going to disclose some of it, they should disclose all of it. NBC, use the internet where I can make my own connection of who he was killing for in his mind. In its entirety, do not protect me from the politically no profile fear that erodes this country.

Posted by Rovin [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 10:29 AM

Thursday, April 19, 2007 8:22 am (pacific time)

Fox News has just proclaimed that they will no longer broadcast any of the videos submitted to NBC by the scum of the earth.

Who's next?

Posted by EndGamePR [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 12:33 PM

I blogged on this very topic last night. I think it's reprehensible that NBC aired the tapes. They violated a cardinal rule of journalism - don't do anything that might encourage copycats.

Here's a link to my post on the Media Relations & SEO PR Blog

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 1:27 PM

"don't do anything that might encourage copycats."

Gee, how did the highly esteemed "journalists" at NBC, happen to miss that lesson in J-school?

Must have skipped it to go smoke dope and get their hair done.

Posted by Angry Dumbo [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 3:56 PM

Eighty years ago in Bath, Michigan a similarly cowardly deed was committed, a school was blown up and 45 people were killed.


The media had it right back then, the bad guy was a bad guy. Read the press as it used to be, when America had respect for journalists. Even the NYT had the good sense not to sensationalize the last minutes of the sick evil coward.

What have we learned?

No, what have we forgotten.

Posted by Del Dolemonte [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 19, 2007 5:17 PM

I'm just curious as to what the public's reaction would have been if this nut had mailed the video and pictures to Fox News instead of NBC. Would FNC also be defended for showing the material? My guess is that instead, they would be called "ghouls" and "cretins" by our tolerant southpaw friends.

Posted by irshwsky [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 20, 2007 12:08 PM

What was NBC and the rest of the Media to do? The Anna Nicole story and the Imus story have been beaten to death. They struck gold when this tragedy happened. If anyone thinks that money is not the driving force behind the NEWS they are as nutty as Cho. As soon as they milk the 32 funerals on Dateline, Primetime, 60 minutes etc., it will be time to work on the next media blitz. It's the MONEY ND RATINGS stupid!