Rockin' in the free world since 2005.

Roger Ebert On Mass Killings & The Media [Pic+]

The day after Columbine, I was interviewed for the Tom Brokaw news program. The reporter had been assigned a theory and was seeking sound bites to support it. “Wouldn”t you say,” she asked, “that killings like this are influenced by violent movies?”

“No,” I said, “I wouldnt say that.”

“But what about Basketball Diaries?” she asked. “Doesnt that have a scene of a boy walking into a school with a machine gun?” The obscure 1995 Leonardo Di Caprio movie did indeed have a brief fantasy scene of that nature, I said, but the movie failed at the box office (it grossed only $2.5 million), and it”s unlikely the Columbine killers saw it. The reporter looked disappointed, so I offered her my theory.

“Events like this,” I said, “if they are influenced by anything, are influenced by news programs like your own. When an unbalanced kid walks into a school and starts shooting, it becomes a major media event. Cable news drops ordinary programming and goes around the clock with it. The story is assigned a logo and a theme song; these two kids were packaged as the Trench Coat Mafia. The message is clear to other disturbed kids around the country: If I shoot up my school, I can be famous. The TV will talk about nothing else but me. Experts will try to figure out what I was thinking. The kids and teachers at school will see they shouldn”t have messed with me. I”ll go out in a blaze of glory.”

In short, I said, events like Columbine are influenced far less by violent movies than by CNN, the NBC Nightly News and all the other news media, who glorify the killers in the guise of explaining them. I commended the policy at the Sun-Times, where our editor said the paper would no longer feature school killings on Page 1. The reporter thanked me and turned off the camera. Of course the interview was never used. They found plenty of talking heads to condemn violent movies, and everybody was happy.”

Roger Ebert

Ebert was asked if movies were the cause of kids going on mass murder rampages. This was his response.

[Total: 51    Average: 4.5/5]
40 Comments - View/Add
Hits: 13009
Rating: 4.5
Category:
Date: 12/14/12 11:51 PM

40 Responses to Roger Ebert On Mass Killings & The Media [Pic+]

  1. Profile photo of fancylad
    fancylad Male 30-39
    18502 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 12:13 am
    Link: Roger Ebert On Mass Killings & The Media - Ebert was asked if movies were the cause of kids going on mass murder rampages. This was his response.
  2. Profile photo of bacon_pie
    bacon_pie Male 30-39
    3061 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 12:24 am
    Not one of my favorite people, but that was very well put.
  3. Profile photo of whodat6484
    whodat6484 Male 30-39
    3907 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 12:46 am
    Never hear this quote from him before but I have to agree with him 100% on that. While the TV was on ABC tonight, as the news coverage was ending, they had some sad music playing over a picture of the school while the credits were rolling. Then right after that was a promo for the TV lineup for the rest of the night with cheery, holiday music playing and the announcer saying, "Get yourself in the holiday spirit tonight with ABC`s family programming..." To me, the contrast between the two seemed a bit ridiculous.
  4. Profile photo of lostinkorea
    lostinkorea Female 30-39
    3727 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 12:54 am
    *starts slow clap*
  5. Profile photo of Solvent
    Solvent Male 18-29
    2842 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 12:57 am
    Obviously it`s the vegans fault.
  6. Profile photo of MrPeabody
    MrPeabody Male 30-39
    1920 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 1:08 am
    Two Thumbs Up
  7. Profile photo of lostinkorea
    lostinkorea Female 30-39
    3727 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 1:08 am
    MJ`s stats on mass shootings from the last 30 years.
  8. Profile photo of som-tam
    som-tam Male 18-29
    713 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 2:15 am
    i wonder if this killer was on `anti-depressants`, if so, will the people calling for a blanket ban for guns be calling for the end of these drugs which always seem to part of the killer`s diet?
  9. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 2:40 am
    I think this has partly to do with it, if I`m not correct this really started in 1966 with Charles Whitman. Russia, Finland, Norway, Azerbaijan, and a list of other countries have seen their share too and if we add all the non-gun related mass murders, like those committed by Katsuya Takahashi, Marie Becker, Ted Kaczynski, the anthrax killer, or suicide bombers, the list gets even bigger.
    I see it as a consequence of more information, people borrow ideas off each other both for good and bad. A psycho decides to kill those they hate, and whoever else is there. They follow the models of those who have done it before them for more effect. It`s learned behavior, and as it becomes more common, it becomes more accepted by those who may potentially commit the act.
  10. Profile photo of Draculya
    Draculya Male 40-49
    14544 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 3:06 am
    What would Fancy say to the press if it turned out the shooter had a few thousand posts on IAB?
  11. Profile photo of SmagBoy1
    SmagBoy1 Male 40-49
    4432 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 3:42 am
    And obviously the same could be said for video games, etc. As for anti-depressants, som-tam, correlation does not equal causation. Many people diagnosed as depressive are on anti-depressants. It`s a tough field, psychiatry, and there`s tons we don`t know. When it`s said that most of these people are on anti-depressants, that`s not actually true. Most have been prescribed them. Most are probably actually "off" of them, though.

    As for putting anti-depressants in quotes, that was just trolling. But you`re welcome to go hang with Tom Cruise and his cult. They like to shun science and credible treatment for uneducated idiocy, too.
  12. Profile photo of Sistarose
    Sistarose Female 30-39
    373 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 4:05 am
    Dracuyla, why are you suspicious of someone?
  13. Profile photo of Draculya
    Draculya Male 40-49
    14544 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 4:22 am
    @Sistarose well it wasn`t me. I was smoking Cuban cigars and drinking beer by the pool in HK and I have witnesses. Given that you`re typing, it wasn`t you either.

    No, my point was, we give these things so much play here and so many people jump up to defend the 2nd Amendment in the comments, that I am sure if someone on IAB really did go postal (worse if they left a pre-murder note about it on IAB), then the press would have a field day with Fancy, his management, shareholders, sponsors and members of the community that may have supported the killer`s views or the right to bear arms (even taken out of context)
  14. Profile photo of Magentab0b
    Magentab0b Female 30-39
    1467 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 5:04 am
    Idk some anti-depressants seem to have a serious affect on underlying psychotic mis/undiagnosed conditions. And the whole ego loss thing stops a lot of people for wanting to be different. Really no wants to believe they are fehked up. Have you seen X Factor? That is like 80% of the population.


    There have been a chain of fires in a local town and they seem random but I know deep down there is one person or act or thing and only one thing responsible. Chemtrails!
  15. Profile photo of Magentab0b
    Magentab0b Female 30-39
    1467 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 5:11 am
    Draculya: "What would Fancy say to the press if it turned out the shooter had a few thousand posts on IAB?"/quote


    "We thought it was a bot."
  16. Profile photo of Ripper398
    Ripper398 Male 18-29
    1310 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 5:13 am
    <.<
    >.>
  17. Profile photo of slut_etta
    slut_etta Female 50-59
    3775 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 5:45 am
    thumbs up to Mr. Ebert.
  18. Profile photo of skullgrin
    skullgrin Male 18-29
    937 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 5:46 am
    only logical thing he`s ever said
  19. Profile photo of TheGuySmiley
    TheGuySmiley Male 18-29
    1243 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 5:48 am
    just saying it how it is...
  20. Profile photo of Sistarose
    Sistarose Female 30-39
    373 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 7:00 am
    Just an observation from a long way from USA, but we have strict gun laws in Australia and you barely notice their lack. Admittedly the government herds us around like sheep, implants us with micro chips and feeds us mind control drugs, but it is peaceful here, it is all hunky dory.
  21. Profile photo of lostinkorea
    lostinkorea Female 30-39
    3727 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 7:21 am
    GuySmiley: Take your sermon somewhere else.

    We need to be proactive in dealing with this mess. We need to offer low cost/no cost quality help for those with mental health issues. This should be mandatory.

    We need to educate the masses on mental health issues and eradicate the stigma that goes along with it.

    We need to keep criminals locked up or either execute them. This means repeat offenders should not get a drating slap on the wrist and told to be good.

    Have strict guns laws.

    Come down REALLY HARD on those that break these laws. I mean with SERIOUS consequences so that it sends a message. Life in prison, labor camps, death....

    I would also make people take mandatory parenting classes for at least a year or so. Just because you can f*ck, don`t mean you should have children! Not everyone is capable of raising self sufficient, productive and good human beings. And those people should not be allowed to have children.
  22. Profile photo of Misfit-Mutt
    Misfit-Mutt Female 18-29
    349 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 7:23 am
    Hmm?
  23. Profile photo of markust123
    markust123 Male 40-49
    3876 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 7:32 am
    Roger Ebert is an amazing man. He lost most of his lower jaw to thyroid cancer which makes his face look really weird and robbed him of his voice. That would destroy most people but every picture I have seen and every interview he has a huge smile and the most wonderful attitude (He has to communicate through a computer). He also created a blog so he could continue doing review. I have so much respect for the man.
  24. Profile photo of mcssls
    mcssls Female 70 & Over
    695 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 7:45 am
    the officer in that picture above is my brother in law. He was to be at a ceremony being promoted to lieutenant instead, he was the 5th officer into the door of that school. What he saw has torn him apart, he loves all kids, his wife (my sister) is a teacher nearby, their kids are of the same ages as those kids. It was so ugly there that my sister had a counselor in her living room waiting for him to come home. All because of the selfish and sick act of one person.
  25. Profile photo of markust123
    markust123 Male 40-49
    3876 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 8:05 am
    Thank you mcssls for sharing. The images of all the kids bodies kept popping into my head yesterday making me cry. I can`t imagine actually seeing that. I don`t know how he is going to recover from this. Looks like your brother in law spared the kids that image,

    "Soon police officers were banging on Vollmer`s classroom door. The kindergartners were told to line up and cover their eyes as they were led by police out of the school to a nearby firehouse, Vollmer said."
  26. Profile photo of Sistarose
    Sistarose Female 30-39
    373 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 8:08 am
    Mcssls, my best wishes go to your brother in law for being there for people who needed him when so many could not.
  27. Profile photo of iLove
    iLove Female 18-29
    676 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 8:23 am
    I`m so glad someone said this, its exactly what I`ve been thinking.
  28. Profile photo of IRockYeah
    IRockYeah Male 40-49
    2619 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 8:24 am
    More innocence lost for the sake of a few votes from the NRA.

    For shame.
  29. Profile photo of Gerry1of1
    Gerry1of1 Male 50-59
    36216 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 8:35 am

    If we sincerely don`t want to promote this type of incident and denying the shooters the notoriety they crave, then we should all shut up about it.
  30. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17515 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 11:12 am
    I don`t agree with Mr. Ebert on very much, but this is one I do.
  31. Profile photo of panth753
    panth753 Female 18-29
    9186 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 11:39 am
    This is exactly how I feel about this sort of thing.
  32. Profile photo of ferdyfred
    ferdyfred Male 40-49
    13602 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 1:37 pm
    Nail - head
  33. Profile photo of Fancysucksss
    Fancysucksss Male 18-29
    1048 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm
    That guy just hammered on the dicks of the media. So true.
  34. Profile photo of TheGuySmiley
    TheGuySmiley Male 18-29
    1243 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm
    lostinkorea: what about your sermon? People are often too quick to judge others mentally ill, rather than looking at the root causes for them. If you were to sit down with mentally ill paitients and listen to them, you would find out that there are problems in this world. One big one in that nation is the unhealthy love for money.. aye, the idolization of it is so bad that it`s brought down nations in the past, and in todays `money mentality` world, it likely will again.
  35. Profile photo of caper454
    caper454 Female 70 & Over
    511 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 4:56 pm
    No one ever seems to mention that all the gunmen doing these mass shooting were/are ALL on anti-depressants. Talk about gun control all you want, but maybe we just need to look at the pills we`re giving our kids.
  36. Profile photo of Stebano
    Stebano Male 18-29
    29 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 9:06 pm
    Got my degree in journalism and I couldn`t agree more.
  37. Profile photo of xelous
    xelous Male 18-29
    2513 posts
    December 15, 2012 at 10:47 pm
    That
  38. Profile photo of 8BitHero
    8BitHero Male 18-29
    5414 posts
    December 16, 2012 at 5:13 am
    DAAAAAMN. Very good.
  39. Profile photo of randomxnp
    randomxnp Male 30-39
    1293 posts
    December 16, 2012 at 8:06 am
    Now this guy makes sense. These people should be portrayed as freaks, sad losers and nutters who will be forgotten in a few days while their victims are still remembered, not monster, not powerful people on the road to infamy.
  40. Profile photo of randomxnp
    randomxnp Male 30-39
    1293 posts
    December 16, 2012 at 8:09 am
    "i wonder if this killer was on `anti-depressants`"

    Interesting comment. My wife had murderous thoughts about the parents she dotes upon while taking one drug, as well as suicidal impulses (not a great combination here); she so soft-hearted otherwise. A friend wanted to kill her beloved husband, and she had only taken the drug to give up smoking!

Leave a Reply