Media And Murder; Who’s Really To Blame? Essay, Research Paper
Media and Murder
Who?s Really to Blame?
By allowing our opinion to be persuaded by the media in their depictions of the truth within particular news broadcasting stories, we are merely coinciding with the disillusions of the world in which we live. As a society, we would rather allow ourselves to be convinced by the media that sudden outbursts of violence can be directly linked to a logical explanation. The media therefore allows us to believe there is a reason for every violent act and we are not to blame. By placing the blame on different forms of questionable entertainment this allows us to sleep at night.
An example of this would be a murder trial that took place in the northern region of the United States. A young male high school student was taken to court for the axe murder of his mother, father, and sister. The media stated this boy had a straight ?A? average, and was beloved by all who knew him. After showing a photo of the boy on national television along with an exclusive interview with his closest friends, the public?s opinion is now based on one preconceived notion…what would make this seemingly clean cut, well mannered boy perform such a horrendous act of violence?
Reporters later received an anonymous tip that the boy might have listened to a band by the name of Negativland, who was known for being highly critical of mass media. One of their songs entitled ?Christianity Sucks? was allegedly thought to be the motivation behind the young boy?s sudden act of violence. The media continued by comparing Negativland with many of the other highly controversial artists such as
Marilyn Manson. With this in mind, the media has now generated faulty evidence that would lead us to believe the music group Negativland was to blame for this appalling act of violence due to their negative influence on this young boy?s state of mind. We are also lead to believe that the murder must have taken place after listening to one of Negativland?s songs entitled ?Christianity Sucks?. That this was in fact the very song that led him into a fit of rage against his mother, father and sister. A rage so empowered that he would take an axe to each of his parents along with his own sister with the intentions of killing them. Are we so filled with disillusion that we could actually believe the media?s accusations? That a single song could lead to this young boy?s horrifying murder of his own family?
On April 20, 1999, the nation watched in horror as a suburban Denver high school turned into a war zone. Two students had gone on a shooting spree through Littleton, Colorado?s Columbine High School killing 12 other students and a teacher. The media began to report on the accused students? background information once again attempting to create a reason for a chaotic crime. They were members of a group called the ?Trenchcoat Mafia,? the media stated, allegedly a group with neo-Nazzi sympathies. One of the boys had also created a web site with the information on making explosives. The date of the shootings — also the anniversary of Adolph Hitler?s death — was connected to their fascination with Hitler. The media then directed attentions to the film The Basketball Diaries, gory video games, and disturbing music lyrics. The availability of
guns were to blame, reporters moaned, noting that such a tragedy never would have occurred if semi-automatic weapons would not have found their way into the hands of disturbed teenagers.
Sociologists have described our society as the ?grievance culture.? Society has increasingly become convinced that they are owed something; furthermore they are convinced that if they do not have it, someone is preventing them from getting it. Society litigates frivolously because corporations have, ?deep pockets,? or because they are too uninhibited to accept personal responsibility for their own actions, but is the media to blame for feeling it has the right to turn any misfortune in to dollars? We go on talk shows to explain tearfully exactly why everyone else is the cause of our own miseries. We demonize immigrants because we assume, apparently with no fundamental understanding of economics, that everyone else taking a piece of the American pie must be making our pieces smaller. We grow more diverse yet become more frightened of that diversity, considering every race, religion or lifestyle a threat. Is the media to blame that we are a nation of pointing fingers, a nation in search of scapegoats, a nation of unwilling or unable to find a sense of self? Or are they merely showing us as a society what we are longing to hear?
Man?s greatest fear is chaos. It is unthinkable that crimes like these happen in our society everyday. If there are reasons for any of these crimes we may truly never know, but for the media to create a reason out of speculation is unethical.