What Happened To Common Decency?
Sleazy hucksters. All of them.
I’m referring to the news outlets - newspapers and TV outlets alike - that breathlessly linked to horrific cellphone videos - taken by students - of the deadly Florida school shooting yesterday.
They did this shortly after the bullets stopped flying. Before we knew how many people had died and been injured. Before we knew the name of the killer. Before we knew how he got into the school.
Let’s be honest. There was absolutely no news value in that shocking footage. None. It told us nothing that we wouldn’t learn shortly from interviews with survivors, law enforcement and parents.
It was almost voyeuristic.
Beyond that, it was especially heartless to air the videos without context and before some frantic parents knew the fate of their own children.
These mothers and fathers ought to sue the offending outlets for mental distress.
Make no mistake. There was only one reason that CBS, MSNBC and The Miami Herald were so quick to throw the ghoulish videos out there with insincere warnings that viewers might find the content “disturbing.”
The news industry today is driven by clicks and page views. That means the producers and editors are constantly trying to gin up traffic on the internet.
The more clicks, the more money these outlets can charge for ads.
Hence, the rush to be the first to give the public a behind-the-scene peek at the high school horror.
It’s that simple. And that disgusting.
Some of us have been highly critical of “page view” journalism. It’s cheapened the product. Usually it means silly animal stories. Meaningless reader polls. Comment sections that have turned into tedious digital cesspools.
But on a day like Wednesday, this click addiction meant a disgraceful race to share footage taken by kids as a killer was still shooting and their classmates lay dying.
It raises this simple question: Whatever happened to common decency?