Overblown media coverage may be D.C. sniper’s biggest accomplice

By Courtney Carlo 2005

While watching the news, an update about the recent attacks is featured. Someone doesn’t feel the expected fear or sadness. Instead they feel excited. Maybe even happy. They are learning about what steps investigators are taking in the search. They now know what to do to avoid capture. Maybe they are using the “news” to decide where to strike next.

Did the media provide too much information to the sniper? Did they actually help him stay on the loose? That might be the case.

It is possible that serial killers like the recently arrested sniper suspects are thrill seekers. They kill just to be killing and see the people’s reactions. They are obviously trying to cause terror and disrupt everyday live. And they media is giving them exactly what they want.

They media is giving them the fame the desire by featuring nothing but that case. Local news programs are canceling news such as the state elections to repeat everything the national stations have already said. Instead of updating communities about their current news, they are only creating more fear.

When programs interview profilers about what they think the serial killers will do next, he does the total opposite. Someone said that children were safe. A 13-year-old was shot walking into this school. Others said that the shootings were only in Maryland. They next victim was in Virginia.

Every article or program that is shown is just giving him more power over us. Some information is required to know what is going on, but page after page in the newspapers and hours on television channels is way too much. They are beyond informing. They are now merely entertaining.

Reporters may offend or provoke killers into killing again sooner or killing more people. They may push them over the edge to the point where the killers may do something worse than the other attacks just to get revenge and prove a point.

Not everything the media reported helped the sniper, however, they broadcasted the police hotline number to call if there were any tips or if someone may have witnessed something.

Also, the Chevy Caprice tip turned out to be the key to locating and putting these sniper suspects behind bars. Shortly after the police warned the media not to release the detail that the suspects could be in a Caprice, a number of cable news programs did just that. It tuns out that someone used the tip to turn in the two suspects as they slept in their Caprice at a roadside rest stop.

But by releasing the Chevy Caprice detail in the media, it very easily could have been the warning that the two suspects needed to ditch their car and never be caught.

Don’t get me wrong. The media isn’t all bad. They can be very informative and valuable to the public, but they need to limit their coverage and worry about informing not entertaining. We have Hannibal Lector for that.

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