NBC’s airing of Virginia Tech tapes troubling but justifiedWednesday, May 16, 2007 By Kelsey Schuler
From 1971 to 2005 there were 404 terrorist incidents in the U.S. according to the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Of these attacks 166 were bombings, 120 fire bombings and 118 shootings. On April 30 the U.S. government declared that terrorism scares have risen 25 percent in the 11 days following the Virginia Tech shootings on April 16. The media has the power to tell Americans what they want to know and what they need to know, but after the disturbing tape of Cho Seung-hui viewed on NBC, Americans questioned if NBC misused their right to freedom of the press. NBC didn’t do harm to anybody in coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings. They did the job we would expect. They also tried to attract viewers. But the American public has already been introduced to these forms of violence in movies, television, video games and life experiences. What makes this any different? Well, this is real! The video helped us recognize that these things are happening too often and question how Americans can stop these tragedies. What happened at Virginia Tech was reality, but everyday somebody plays a video game or watches a horror movie, demonstrating shooting and pain like what happened in the Seung-hui video. Even repeating “fiction and nonfiction are completely different concepts” when the fiction is similar to the reality, it doesn’t make it easy to watch or understand. When the news aired two planes crashing into the World Trade Center it was horrifying and unbelievable. But it motivated Americans to demonstrate that we are not going to let terrorists put us down and that we are going to do something about this nonsense. When newspapers published pictures of the Holocaust and Darfur, it revealed the problems in the world and sent a message that maybe America can lend a hand and help. We need to know the truth to be able to respond appropriately and effectively. We need to react, get mad and figure out ways to help people who are like Seung-hui. As Americans we have the right to know what is going on. Wouldn’t you rather know the whole truth than just a couple of facts? Look past Seung-hui, he is not the news. The news is what happened at Virginia Tech and how it affected the nation. The nation needs to find a way to put an end to the violence.