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 (via buttsexattiffanys)
Abdul Waheed, who lives in North Waziristan
This report got a lot of U.S. press coverage. But one thing you didn’t see in the press coverage was any official U.S. government response. And that is a severe problem. The normal situation would be: someone raises a criticism, the government responds, and then as a citizen and news consumer you can attempt to weigh and judge the criticism and the response. But you couldn’t have done that in this case, because there was no official U.S. government response to the report.
However, a group of Americans just had a slightly different experience, because we went to Pakistan on a peace delegation against the drone strikes, and the Acting U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Hoagland, agreed to meet with us, and answered questions on the record about the drone strikes. So we experienced a deviation from the U.S. government’s official policy of no public dialogue on the drone strikes.
And here is a disturbing fact that we learned: the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, who appears in general to be is a well-intentioned and informed person, is either ignorant or is in denial of basic facts about U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan which have been reported in mainstream press accounts.
In our second meeting with Ambassador Hoagland, we asked about the impact on the civilian population of Waziristan of having U.S. drones constantly flying over them, poised to strike. Leah Bolger, President of Veterans For Peace, asked: “Would you concede that the constant buzzing of drones overhead 24 hours a day, is a form of psychological warfare?”
Shame? We don't know the meaning of the word!
- Mitt Romney a few weeks ago: You know, in the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad. They were embarrassed. Today, they just blast ahead.
- Mitt Romney today: We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.