Friday, April 20, 2007

NBC's folly

NBC has been lauding itself for airing the home video of Virginia Tech murderer Cho Seung-Hui, as if it is a newsworthy item. It is not, and it has no value to anyone other than raising ratings and emotionally harming the victims' families. This is not a situation like publishing the Unabomber manifesto, where the nutter remained at large and the writing provided clues to his identity such that a reader came forward and identified the Unabomber. That reader was Ted Kaczynski's brother.

Sixteen years ago, Jeremy Wade Delle killed himself in front of his classmates in his Richardson, Texas school. That act moved Eddie Vedder, who wrote the Pearl Jam song Jeremy. But unlike the NBC action, which only serves to encourage a nobody to do horrid things with the assurance that his all-important story will be aired and he will get his fame, Pearl Jam's point was entirely different, as Vedder explained:

Some kid did this. I didn't make that up and that's a fact. It came from a small paragraph in a paper which means you kill yourself and you make a big old sacrifice and try to get your revenge [and] all you're gonna end up with is a paragraph in a newspaper. Sixty-three degrees and cloudy in a suburban neighborhood. That's the beginning of the video and that's the same thing in the end . . . nothing changes. The world goes on and you're gone. The best revenge is to live on and prove yourself. Be stronger than those people. And then you can come back.

Not anymore. Sixteen years after Jeremy Delle is relegated to a paragraph in a newspaper with no examination of who he was or what made him tick, Cho gets 24-hour, weeklong attention for the video that revealed his evil and pathological mind. That's wrong all around.

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