THE BLOG

Don't Make Killers Rock Stars

04/19/2007 09:23 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Cho Seung-Hui's face doesn't deserve to be on the home page of Yahoo, the New York Times or next week's Time magazine. To put his picture there guarantees the creation of new school shooters. When you can get this famous by killing people, it creates inspiration to vent your depression/frustration/anger with violence.

There is ample research and examples to make this case. Check out The Copycat Effect.

I will collect some studies to prove this and add them to this post, I've read them over the last few years. Media organizations (and people talking at the water cooler) need to remember that giving someone attention and focus gives them value. Numerous studies in Europe prove that when you put a terrorist or a serial killer on the front page of a a newspaper, you create a new one.

Let's focus on the tragedy and what we can learn about it. I'm not saying that we shouldn't try to understand what was wrong with Cho Seung-Hui, or the warning signs that we should pay attention to. I mean that we shouldn't make him prominent, use his name or display his picture. He's not worth it. He accomplished nothing.

NBC did not do the socially responsible thing Tuesday Now Cho Seung-Hui's video is being played millions of times on TVs, laptops and PCs, some of them owned by future school shooters. He's getting more views than any YouTube video EVER released. Talk about inspiring other school shooters!!

There is ample research and examples to make this case. Check out The Copycat Effect.

The video proclaims that "I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people." And he gets airtime and webtime to spew this? I can't believe how irresponsible media sources like NBC and a host of online portals are being. Once let out of the bottle, this newly minted rock star will use the power of sight sound and motion to further his cause after death. If I were NBC I would have squashed it. Give it to the authorities and never show it. They won't show the footage when Steve Irwin was killed, too disturbing. But the media and online publishers cannot resist this video.

Did you notice that in the distributed video, NBC placed their logo in the upper left hand corner? Where ever you see it, they wanted the credit! Do you think he chose them because they have the best programming? Was it because he admired Must See TV?

Do they think that they are generating incremental page views or eyeballs for ad revenue? Ridiculous! No advertiser gets ANY value from this association. In my experience, ad buyers never want to associate with tragedy.

Do you remember when the media finally wised up and stopped showing planes flying into the towers????

I remember back in 2001 after September 11, all the portals took down ads on the home page and focused on Red Cross. "No profiteering on tragedy" was the social norm. Them days are over. I'm worried about the power and lack of accountability of big media.