From: The Listening Post

Video message from a killer

Was NBC right to air the Virginia Tech killer’s ‘multi-media manifesto’?

A photo of Cho Seung-hui, which was part of a
package Cho mailed to NBC [AFP] 

In this week’s global media show, The Listening Post, Richard Gizbert asks whether NBC was right to air the Virginia Tech killer’s video message, an Egyptian cartoonist gives us his take on modern media and US presidential hopeful John McCain gets into trouble when his controversial version of Beach Boys hit Barbara Ann surfaces on YouTube.

The main story this week is the controversy surrounding NBC’s decision to broadcast the Virginia Tech campus killer’s ‘multi-media manifesto’.

Cho Seung-Hui took time out from his shooting spree to send a package of video clips and photographs to the channel. NBC handed over the originals to police but broadcast copies on its Nightly News show.
The police were quick to criticise NBC, but it did not stop the channel playing the tapes again and again or prevent other major news networks from following suit.
The volume of airtime dedicated to a killer’s incoherent rantings quickly provoked debate within the media. At NBC, Matt Lauer spoke out on the Today show against his own channel’s decision to air Cho’s message. And at Canadian network CBC editor-in-chief Tony Burman took the bold decision not to air any of the killer’s footage.
And in the press there were accusations that many news channels were playing into the killer’s hands and giving him the celebrity status he craved. There were also fears his words would inspire copycat massacres.
In Newsbytes, we look at the other big media stories this week. US presidential candidate John McCain came under attack when a video of him singing “bomb bomb Iran” to the tune of Barbara Ann by the Beach Boys surfaced on YouTube. The clip then appeared on the news, but McCain was unrepentant saying his critics should lighten up.
In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez is heading for a showdown with RCTV, an opposition TV channel that once backed a coup against him. Chavez wants the broadcaster shut down, but thousands of people took to the street in support of RCTV.
Our feature this week comes from Egyptian cartoonist, Tarek Shahin. It is called Cairo Freeze and is a modern animated fable on the pitfalls of trusting new media in today’s newsroom.
Finally our video of the week – My Generation performed by the Zimmers, a group of guitar smashing pensioners.

Watch this episode of The Listening Post here:
Part One:

Part Two:

This episode of The Listening Post aired from 27 April 2007

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