Monday, April 23, 2007

Enough already

By Michael J.W. Stickings

We've been highly critical of the excessive media coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings -- see here and here, for example -- and now it looks like Virginia Tech has had enough of the media orgy, too. As a local ABC affiliate is reporting, Virginia Tech's student government is "calling on hundreds of reporters to leave campus by Monday morning, when students are supposed to return to classes".

Will the media go along with this sensible request? Hopefully so, but don't expect the orgy to come to an end. Doing what they always do, the media will continue to milk this story until there's nothing left to milk, and then some.

For as I have said before, there are some stories that, by virtue of their magnitude (or more precisely their sensationalism), turn into media events. And this is one of them. Regardless of what the students of Virginia Tech want, regardless of the distasteful nature of the coverage, this event will go on for as long as the media choose to continue to exploit it to serve their own ends -- which is to say, until they decide that they've had enough, or until the ratings tell them to move on to the next story, or event, or until whatever integrity they have left, and there may not be much, gets the better of them.

(h/t: Joe Gandelman)

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