When Rolling Stone “graced” its cover in July 2013 with the Boston bomber I was truly disgusted. I’m all for freedom of speech. Additionally, I’m aware that examining the background and psyche of sociopaths can be seen as interesting journalism.
For me, this doesn’t translate to plopping a picture on the cover of a magazine ripe for other sociopaths to idolize when considering a similar violent path. I’m not suggesting we outlaw the media’s right to plaster a killer (posed like a model btw) all over town since I value freedom of speech. Just know I will lose respect for that publication as a result.
Similarly, when a publication openly addresses the role of infamy as a motivating factor in mass killings (which are now commonplace) and its role; it deserves my utmost respect. I previously avoided People Magazine for its relentless coverage of bad celebrity gossip but it earned my kudos this week.
On Monday October 26, People included a follow-up to their latest issue’s “Call to Action” on gun violence. As a portion of this piece editorial director Jess Cagle wrote:
Several of you wrote to People reminding us that when covering crimes like the Oregon shooting, it’s important to focus on the victims, not the killer. We agree, and that’s what we tend to do. Since infamy can be a motivating factor in mass killings, we will be careful to avoid giving individuals who commit or attempt these crimes more notoriety. We will use strong caution when deciding whether to show these murderers’ photos or use their names, and not allow ourselves to be a platform for their messages.
Bravo, People! Regardless of one’s view concerning the Rolling Stone cover or that motivating factors such as infamy seem small potato to other overshadowing factors contributing to mass killings: every step taken toward addressing this type of violence matters. People’s vow to take the motivating factor of infamy into consideration during coverage of these horrid acts is honorable, impressive, and rare. So thank you People and editorial director Jess Cagle, you’ve gained a new fan right here.
*I will rarely hijack my blog to discuss serious issues unrelated to parenting/lifestyle topics. There has been zero coverage on People’s statement and I think it deserves recognition. Thus, in rare cases when it’s something I’m extremely passionate about I will interrupt the usual flow, thanks for rolling with it.
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