Eat The Press


NBC News

The media world is slowly continuing its dialogue on NBC News' decision to air the submitted materials of Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui, following a pattern that savvy web-readers are sure to recognize: hype, followed by backlash, followed by a backlash to the backlash. Hey! It's just like the way the rock press covers The Strokes, only without any concomitant national tragedy (the poor production on Room On Fire nothwithstanding).

On the matter of the Cho materials, we seem to have entered that third stage, and the defense of NBC's position got a boost this week from Kevin Sites of the Columbia Journalism Review, who thoughtfully lays out why "NBC did exactly they right thing." And that's saying something, because as Sites elaborates, he's been on the business end of NBC doing, in his opinion, the wrong thing:

On this issue, I find myself in the strange position of defending a television news network that more than two years ago deftly stepped away from me when I, as a freelance correspondent for NBC, videotaped one of the most controversial scenes of the war -- a U.S. marine shooting a wounded, unarmed insurgent in a Falluja mosque.

NBC, like most other American networks that received the footage under a pool agreement, chose not to air the entire shooting; it blacked out the critical portion when the marine raises his M-16, fires point blank into the insurgent's head, then spins on his heels and strides away. It was a decision that, at the time, I not only supported but pushed for. It was the wrong decision.

Thus, it says a lot that Sites is willing to offer his support, and he very concisely rebuts criticism of the airing of the materials and the worry that such images can have an infectious effect. But the money quote, in our opinion, is his articulation of a point that really hadn't occured to us:

For those still not convinced that NBC did the right thing, remember, this is the Internet Age. Cho sent his package to NBC, but he could have easily bypassed the mainstream media and posted his videos to YouTube and his photos to MySpace. With the exception of burning the NBC logo onto every photograph and video image to make it seem the package was the result of its own investigative work, NBC handled the material with a sensitivity that wouldn't have happened had it just been uploaded into cyberspace.

With time, we may find ourselves counting it a lucky thing that these materials ended up in NBC's mailbox.

Why NBC Was Right to Air Cho Package [CJR]

Media Blogroll


Romenesko Gawker TVNewser Wonkette Crooks & Liars CJR Daily Drudge Dealbreaker Dealbook Defamer Deadline Hollywood Daily Mickey Kaus Jeff Jarvis Radosh James Wolcott IWantMedia The Slot Bloggermann Jake Tapper Blogging Baghdad Russert Watch Jossip Mediabistro The Media Mob at the NY Observer The Transom FishbowlNY FishbowlDC FishbowlLA GalleyCat Reference Tone Panopticist The Minor Fall, The Major Lift Penguins On the Equator Gelf Magazine- Gelflog Animal (New York) White House Press Briefings Altercation
Page Six Liz & Cindy NYDN Gossip Intelligencer Reliable Source Patrick McMullan


Jack Shafer Howard Kurtz WWD Memo Pad NYO Off The Record Broadsheet Gail Shister Keith Kelly NYT Business/Media Jay Rosen’s PressThink Fine on Media Simon Dumenco’s Media Guy Jon Friedman Media Matters The Guardian (Media) NRO Media Blog Columbia Journalism Review On The Media The Public Eye The Daily Nightly Today’s Papers Regret the Error Dan Froomkin David Folkenflik


Slate Salon New York Magazine The New Yorker The New York Review of Books The New Republic The Nation Harper’s The Atlantic Monthly The Virginia Quarterly Review Vanity Fair Esquire n+1 The Believer


The New York Times The Washington Post The New York Observer The LA Times Time Newsweek US News & World Report Wall Street Journal Editor & Publisher NY Daily News NY Post USA Today NY Sun Times of London Financial Times The Smoking Gun McClatchy
NBC ABC CBS CNN Fox News MSNBC NPR Air America BBC C-SPAN Al Jazeera
AdAge Broadcasting & Cable MediaPost MediaWeek Variety Entertainment Weekly Folio:
HuffPo Home