Is the Media to Blame?

By Kayla Day
C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb talking to the academic session

C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb talking to the academic session

Today during our academic session at the Washington Center the Executive Chairman and founder of C-SPAN Brian Lamb spoke with us. He took a different approach than other speakers have; he encouraged us to take part in a discussion by asking us questions rather than lecturing us and waiting for our questions. The topic he lead us to was the issue of gun control. Many people offered insight to their reasoning through personal stories. However, one topic we got on was that the media is to blame for the amount of attention violence receives.

So thus, a question was proposed: is the media to blame for the negativity in society? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no. The issue with the media is that there are so many facets to every argument and typically the media only gives one part of a story, but that doesn’t mean they are to blame for placing too much negativity into our lives.

Some reporters offer less sensitivity towards situations where mass shootings happen. When reporters throw young children who are traumatized by mass shootings into a news story they are causing these children to relive their most horrific experience over and over again before they have a chance to move on. Those types of journalists make me feel embarrassed to  be a journalism major.

During our small group discussion, the point was brought up that as a society, we have a fascination with murder and the media plays into that fascination by supplying us with those stories on the news.

By placing so much attention on the killers rather than the victims, the media is planting the idea into the minds of other potential shooters that they have to “one-up” the mass shooting before them. Yes, our society may be fascinated with murder, but by placing so much attention on the killer, it can lead to more violence.

In my personal opinion, each situation is different, yes sometimes the media can cause more harm than good, but other times the media is a good source of information. In the end, we cannot blame the media for reporting negative news stories, they ultimately are playing to the masses. However, I do think we can blame them for their actions after mass shootings.

There is a fine line between ethical and unethical news stories and I think for the most part, journalists toe that line and that is where people begin to blame the media for exposing the public to so many stories about violence, and specifically mass shootings.



One thought on “Is the Media to Blame?

  1. One thing I find compelling about social media is that it takes the conversations with have with our own friends and neighbors and forces them online, into a public, global conversation. Sure, the media satisfies our curiosity during major national events, but would those conversations still exist if the media wasn’t taking part in them? I think they would.

    As human beings, we’re always going to be curious about the psychology behind the people who make tragic decisions, because most of us cannot fathom what would make another human being decide to take the lives of others. If the media shares information about violence too graphically, it’s only because that’s what the people are demanding. In a world where everyone has a voice, I’d much rather learn the facts directly from the media than hear speculation from a random Twitter account.

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