To ensure a free society, our forefathers granted us the universal right to free speech. This meant that anyone could be scrutinized, if the information was true, by the media. The LAPD officers who beat Rodney King were scrutinized; Richard Nixon was scrutinized; even Jerry Springer has been scrutinized. These accusations by the media turned out to be true, and that is fine with me, but what about when the media jumps too far ahead? OJ Simpson is still portrayed as a criminal years after he was found innocent in criminal court. Richard Little (the man accused of the Olympic bombing) had his life destroyed because of all his negative media attention. No one has been arrested, but John Benet Ramsey's parents seem to be the target of the media investigation.
Throughout every story there seems to be truth and fiction; sensation and sensationalism. This is what I find so disturbing about the Littleton case. I know that school children don't usually kill each other before recess, and I can understand the want of the media to capitalize on the opportunity to instill in us some sense of pathos, but to take on the persona of the "older brother" with regards to how the media mediated this event was wrong in my eyes. By "older brother" persona I mean that they bullied us into believing what they believed. First we were supposed to be angry and horrified that something like this could happen in such a small town. Then we kind of felt sorry that these two young gentlemen were almost driven to do this because of the years of social abuse they endured all throughout highschool. And finally, in what I find the most sickening part of all, the media turned and pointed its finger at the parents of the perpetrators.
Why do we need to have the focus continually changing? I appreciate the fact that the media's strongest resource is the collision of different ideas, but recently it seems as if the problems are being stretched way too far. This homicide in Littleton has turned from a mass killing into a nationwide crusade to limit gun sales; a disturbance in rural America has become a ripple in the way parents should raise their kids. Personally, I don't buy into it. Yes, I feel bad for the victims, but there is no reason I should also feel victimized. And that is exactly what I think the media has done to a lot of people.
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