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View Poll Results: Please read the opening post first, then vote for as many options as you want:
Reducing sensationalist coverage of mass shootings would probably reduce mass shootings. 15 55.56%
Reducing sensationalist coverage of mass shootings would probably NOT reduce mass shootings. 5 18.52%
Boycotting sensationalist media coverage would probably reduce sensationalist coverage. 6 22.22%
Boycotting sensationalist media coverage would probably NOT reduce sensationalist coverage. 6 22.22%
The idea of organizing a boycott of sensationalist media coverage of mass shootings is worth trying. 6 22.22%
Attempting to organize a boycott of sensationalist media coverage of mass shootings is utterly impractical. 5 18.52%
Government should help promote the idea of boycotting sensationalist media coverage of mass shootings. 4 14.81%
Government should do nothing to promote the idea of boycotting sensationalist media coverage of mass shootings. 11 40.74%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 27. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-01-2018, 02:05 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
6,820 posts, read 3,756,419 times
Reputation: 4554

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaylenwoof View Post
Perhaps people can help me find a better word than 'sensationalism'? Obviously the stories are important news and I'm not necessarily suggesting that the media is skewing facts to make the story seem bigger than it is. What I'm trying to get at is that the bold headlining and other "in your face" efforts to cash in on the public hunger for knowledge about these events has a tendency (I think) to encourage other people to become mass shooters. I'm suggesting that the information should be made as low-profile as possible - not because it is trivial, but because it is blatantly dangerous to hype the stories. This would be a type of public service for media companies.
Well I'm just not sure I'm agreeing with your premise - whatever you want to call it.
I don't know how you can play down a teenage kid walking into a school and blowing away 17 kids and teachers. It IS very newsworthy. And I don't think having these stories all over the news is that big a factor in someone becoming a school shooter.
This kid actually 'cried for help' in a sense, numerous times in that he warned people about what he was going to do. That and the proliferation of guns and the ease with which he was able to pick them up and his general mental state are far greater factors.

If anything I think these events SHOULD be splashed all over the news. I've seen far too many times horrific shootings happen and they usually all too quickly in this country become yesterdays news. I've often told the story about a 1 year old baby that was shot in the head streets away from where I lived, the first week I moved to America. I was absolutely appalled by the lack of empathy and feeling about it. Nobody cared. If that happened in the UK you would literally NEVER hear the end of it. Here it didn't even make national news.
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Old 03-01-2018, 04:44 PM
 
Location: Kent, Ohio
3,424 posts, read 2,102,817 times
Reputation: 1638
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruithne View Post
Well I'm just not sure I'm agreeing with your premise....
This is an empirical question and, unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to whether media coverage encourages more shootings, but there is some fairly respectable evidence. Here is a sampling:

Contagion in Mass Killings and School Shootings
We find significant evidence that mass killings involving firearms are incented by similar events in the immediate past. On average, this temporary increase in probability lasts 13 days, and each incident incites at least 0.30 new incidents....
Contagion in Mass Killings and School Shootings

Columbine Shootings' Grim Legacy: More Than 50 School Attacks, Plots
A months-long investigation by ABC News has identified at least 17 attacks and another 36 alleged plots or serious threats against schools since the assault on Columbine High School that can be tied to the 1999 massacre.
Columbine Shootings' Grim Legacy: More Than 50 School Attacks, Plots - ABC News

Mass Shootings and the Media Contagion Effect
We would argue identification with prior mass shooters made famous by extensive media
coverage, including names, faces, writings, and detailed accounts of their lives and backgrounds,
is a more powerful push toward violence than mental health status or even access to guns. First
proposed by Phillips (1983), the violent media contagion effect was largely ignored by
criminologists and psychologists, but more recently the evidence of the power of copycat homicide
is mounting.

http://www.apa.org/news/press/releas...ion-effect.pdf

Some other articles of interest:
How the Media Inspires Mass Shooters
https://www.motherjones.com/politics...ters-copycats/

Commentary: Does media coverage of mass murders encourage others to kill?
Does media coverage of mass murders encourage others to kill? - Chicago Tribune

I wish that I had done a bit more research before starting this thread. I would have put these links on the first page.

Last edited by Gaylenwoof; 03-01-2018 at 05:26 PM..
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Old 03-01-2018, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Florida
22,116 posts, read 9,390,962 times
Reputation: 18046
Sorry--I don't think it matters at all and would have no effect.

It is impractical and wasted energy.

Reduced access to guns will reduce mass shootings.

Just more of blaming the wrong thing to ignore the elephant in the room.
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Old 03-01-2018, 04:51 PM
 
44,406 posts, read 17,725,965 times
Reputation: 18680
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enigma777 View Post

Reduced access to guns will reduce mass shootings.
Incorrect.

You give opinion as fact.
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Old 03-01-2018, 05:07 PM
 
Location: 15 months till retirement and I can leave the hell hole of New Yakistan
25,235 posts, read 13,983,115 times
Reputation: 6469
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaylenwoof View Post
I posted something like this in another thread, but I think the idea is worth a thread of its own.
I suspect that sensationalist media coverage of mass shootings tends to encourage more mass shootings. But what can we do about it?

It's all about profit. People want to know about shootings - every detail, ASAP - and thus there is a bunch of money to be made on sensationalist coverage of mass shootings (i.e., Bold headlines covering every aspect of the shooting as the drama unfolds, and the name of the shooter in headlines, once known).
The First Amendment (thankfully) makes it virtually impossible for the government to shut down media coverage of this sort, so that leaves us with a couple of options:

(1) Media self-control: Major media outlets could all agree to "backpage" all mass shooting stories. The information would be there, but it would be just a set of facts listed in a manner that is a boring as possible, and never used as a headline - never sensationalized.
(2) High-profile consumer boycott: People could join a boycott of any media outlet that sensationalizes mass-shooting coverage.

Somehow consumers need to remove the profit incentive for sensationalizing mass-shooting. It is unlikely that the media will participate in the self-control agreement if consumers don't push for it. I'd love to hear some more suggestions about how to make this happen.

Some roles the government could play:
(1) Government agencies could encourage and support the idea of a consumer boycott. (Perhaps spearheaded by agencies dealing with consumer protection and/or public health?)
(2) Government could give tax breaks to media outlets that participate in the self-control policies.

the problem......

if it bleeds it leads.....
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Old 03-01-2018, 05:39 PM
 
Location: Kent, Ohio
3,424 posts, read 2,102,817 times
Reputation: 1638
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enigma777 View Post
Sorry--I don't think it matters at all and would have no effect.
Opinions are plentiful and are to be expected. Informed and thoughtful opinions tend to be rare and delightful. I would love to see people offer evidence and/or logical arguments to back up their opinions. I've offered some evidence for thinking that media coverage does, in fact, encourage more shootings (see post #22). What are some reasons to think that these studies are wrong? Or that the reasoning is wrong? Does anyone here have some contradictory evidence or logical arguments to offer?
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
6,820 posts, read 3,756,419 times
Reputation: 4554
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enigma777 View Post
Sorry--I don't think it matters at all and would have no effect.

It is impractical and wasted energy.

Reduced access to guns will reduce mass shootings.

Just more of blaming the wrong thing to ignore the elephant in the room.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaylenwoof View Post
Opinions are plentiful and are to be expected. Informed and thoughtful opinions tend to be rare and delightful. I would love to see people offer evidence and/or logical arguments to back up their opinions. I've offered some evidence for thinking that media coverage does, in fact, encourage more shootings (see post #22). What are some reasons to think that these studies are wrong? Or that the reasoning is wrong? Does anyone here have some contradictory evidence or logical arguments to offer?
Sorry Gaylenwoof, I'm with Enigma777.

We can spend our time searching for all kinds of answers, apart from the obvious one, but there's one thing that sets America apart from all other westernised countries. It's really very, very simple. Proliferation of guns and the ease with which you can get your hands on them in America.

The whole world watches on and sees what is happening in America.
Canada, the UK, Australia, Europe etc etc are all watching the mass shootings in America play out as well.
Unlike in American, other countries are actually able to see outside their own bubble because they actually broadcast world news. But watching mass shootings going on in America doesn't send crazy people out on shooting sprees in those countries. Why? Because they don't have easy access to guns. These are your placebo/control group so to speak. Remove the guns and the argument falls apart because if you remove the guns = no mass shootings.
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Old 03-02-2018, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Kent, Ohio
3,424 posts, read 2,102,817 times
Reputation: 1638
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruithne View Post
...watching mass shootings going on in America doesn't send crazy people out on shooting sprees in those countries. Why? Because they don't have easy access to guns. These are your placebo/control group so to speak. Remove the guns and the argument falls apart because if you remove the guns = no mass shootings.
Thank you! This is the sort of thing I'm looking for. Insightful responses offered with some arguments and evidence.

Just to be clear: I am an advocate of gun control. I'm not saying that we should pursue media self-control instead of gun control. I do not see these as mutually exclusive options. I am suggesting that the high numbers of mass shootings in the United States is a complex phenomena with more that just one factor. I think we need to pursue better gun control laws, but we also need to pursue other avenues as well. Given the fact that we have the Second Amendment, it is unlikely that America will ever have a lower per-capita rate of gun ownership than most other countries, and it is nearly impossible to keep guns completely out of the hands of dangerous people, so per capita gun violence will continue to be a problem in America for the foreseeable future. But this doesn't mean that gun laws along with other measures can't reduce the frequency and deadliness of gun violence to some significant extent. It is one of the possible "other measures" that I want to consider in this thread.

Also, BTW, it is not accurate to suggest that mass shootings don't occur in Europe. Obviously they do. What I don't know is to what extent the European shooters are copy-catters. Is there something about American culture that encourages this mentality?

I am not completely convinced that reducing sensational media coverage of mass shootings will have a great effect (I am open to contrary evidence), but I strongly suspect that it may help to some extent. I think it is very possible, for example, that the recent Florida school shooting might not have happened if the media had not hyped numerous other school shootings over the past couple of decades. The "copy cat" mentality is well-documented. We know it is real. (See references in post #22) And the obvious vehicle for copy-catting is the media. The only real question is how many mass shootings are actually caused by it? Which shootings, if any, would not have occurred if it were not for the extravagant media attention to previous mass shootings? I don't really know. But I think the conversation is worth having on a national scale.

Also: What tangible harm would be done if the media were to actually agree to backpage mass shooting stories? It would not be censorship; the information would still be available. It would just be a different way of presenting the information - focusing on victims rather than the shooter (and, perhaps, not even naming the shooter except maybe at the bottom of the story in a fairly bland "listing-of-facts" style of presentation), and placing the stories somewhere besides the front-page headlines. What significant harm would be done by this change in the style of presentation?

Last edited by Gaylenwoof; 03-02-2018 at 11:04 AM..
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Old 03-02-2018, 09:55 AM
Status: "Harlan Ogilvy was right!" (set 13 days ago)
 
Location: Bel Air, California
21,273 posts, read 21,775,362 times
Reputation: 33371
I agree, the OP should boycott all media for peace of mind
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Old 03-02-2018, 10:06 AM
 
5,933 posts, read 5,413,544 times
Reputation: 10584
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geeo View Post
Keep in mind that broadcast news is a business. Their purpose is to make money. To do that, they have to attract the largest number of eyeballs to their product in order to charge the highest advertising rates they can. Prior to 1987, news divisions were "loss leaders" for networks and operated more as a public service. The Fairness Doctrine was removed under the Reagan administration to "unleash the magic of the free market," cable competition was starting,so each needs to chase ratings to compete.
This. Once news switched to a profit-generating enterprised it was going to be driven by whatever generated the most attention from an audience. We can't roll that back now, the news is not a "public good" anymore.
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