WASHINGTON, April 19, 2007 – “The Virginia Tech killer’s death wish has come to pass,” says Cliff Kincaid, editor of Accuracy in Media. “NBC is playing into the cold dead hands of a mass murderer, exploiting his paranoid delusions for ratings and profit. This is exactly what he wanted.” Kincaid added that NBC anchor Brian Williams’ description of the material as the killer’s “multimedia manifesto” was an unseemly attempt to sensationalize and hype the story.
At the same time, Kincaid questioned why NBC has held back some of the materials it was sent that could shed light on a possible political or religious motive in the attack. He said NBC should quit exploiting the most sensational material on the air and make all of it immediately available on an NBC News web site for public inspection.
Kincaid made his comments after family members of victims cancelled their appearances on the NBC Today Show because they were very upset with NBC for airing the material. NBC Today show co-host Matt Lauer disclosed that there were “some big differences of opinion right within this news division as to whether we should be airing this stuff at all?”
Kincaid said that the airing of what NBC anchor Williams called “the words of a murderer” could inspire more copycat killings and that more bloodshed may have been one of the motives of the killer in releasing the material to the network. He noted that the killer’s rampage on the campus of Virginia Tech was itself a copycat crime, coming on almost exactly the eighth anniversary of the Columbine killings of 13 people at a Colorado high school. The materials mailed to NBC by the killer, Cho Seung-Hui, reveal that he idolized the Columbine killers, calling them martyrs.
Since the Virginia Tech massacre was itself a copycat crime, he continued, it has to be assumed that the killer wants to see more such crimes. Kincaid said that “This kind of coverage could easily provoke other mentally disturbed individuals into thinking that killing large numbers of people is an automatic ticket to media notoriety and publicity for their cause. NBC may have laid the groundwork for more senseless death and destruction.”
Accuracy in Media (AIM), founded by Reed Irvine in 1969, is America’s original media watchdog organization. For more information, please visit http://www.aim.org.