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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.

submitted by: fancylad
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Roger Ebert On Mass Killings & The Media [Pic+]. Ebert was asked if movies were the cause of kids going on mass murder rampages. This was his response.
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Hits: 13004 | Favorites: 6 | Emailed: 9 | Rating: 3.6 | Category: News & Politics | Date: 12/14/2012
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Male, 30-39, Europe
 1293 Posts
Sunday, December 16, 2012 8:09:47 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!

Male, 30-39, Europe
 1293 Posts
Sunday, December 16, 2012 8:06:11 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.

Male, 18-29, Europe
 5426 Posts
Sunday, December 16, 2012 5:13:35 AM
DAAAAAMN. Very good.

Male, 18-29, Western US
 2576 Posts
Saturday, December 15, 2012 10:47:21 PM

Male, 18-29, Western US
 30 Posts
Saturday, December 15, 2012 9:06:44 PM
Got my degree in journalism and I couldn't agree more.

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