Tuesday, 20 March 2012

French Shootings in Toulouse, A Critique on Reporting

Modified to better reflect what I wanted to say and the intentions of the original article.
(I left too much unsaid the first time out.)  
H Samuel 16/04/2012

Tragic yes, horrific and shocking, definitely... But in all it's violence and wasteful senselessness, let's not allow the crime today and those in recent years threaten to return us to the bad days of open persecution of religious and cultural practice along with those that openly follow their Faith and Beliefs.

The Media and those that report on the events around us have a direct responsibility to the society they serve. In modern reporting and using far too many "throw-away" excuses, this is too often ignored at the expense of feeding the dramatic and the perceived "need" of the people for big, eye catching headlines. To all you reporters, bloggers, politicians and media owners... It is just as dramatic to have a headline that reads something like "Mass killing at School. Many Dead and Injured!" and use a focus on the family and community, loss of potentially great minds, etc. over the motives of the murderer. 

We do not "need" to glorify the crime and provide an inferred platform for the miss-directed ideas of a few to attract viewers/readers to our words. Nor do we have to use the current approach to maintain free speech. A more  sympathetic and community focussed  approach can work just as well. There are good examples of this in the press today, they are just not often given the prominence they deserve.

If the media were to start switching focus towards this way of thinking, they would, in my opinion grow their audience, whilst serving to undermine justification of the "cause" of the criminal. 

Freedom of the press?  Without Doubt!

But with freedom comes the responsibility to respect that very freedom and what it stands for. It is not just the responsibility of those that we elect to enforce and make our rules, it relies on us all.

In all reporting, victim and criminal should be separate, treated according to their actions alone. In reporting, the religion, race, culture and geography of those involved is rarely the centre of the story, Just a factor in a tragedy for someone's mother, father or sibling. Unfortunately, so often these factors are allowed to drown the real story as the dramatic is allowed to dominate.

The headlines following this shooting were directed almost exclusively at the race aspect of the crime and hardly at all on the horror that had been visited upon the families involved and the community at large. This is a crime that touched an entire community , this is no more or less a senseless murder than Columbine or any other of the school shootings around the world.

All government and media attracts and breeds a certain psych, the world over. it is, unfortunately, just the nature of the form of democracy we as a people have allowed to evolve around us. Race is only an aspect at best, definitely not the focus.

In my humble opinion, the focus should have been on the tragic loss of life and potential of those who sadly died at the hands of an unfortunately delusional and ultimately misguided individual. Let's not allow this and other such tragedies to spread a message of hate and intolerance. Let's not let it start us concentrating on our differences... We all know where that leads...

It is time we looked at the sub-concious effect that reporting choices can have on society around us. It does not "have" to be this way...

Thank you for reading and please feel free to comment.

It's time we stand back and look at what we prioritise in society today.

For clarification,
This is a comment on the style and focus of the reporting of the event, not the terrible waste of human life, which, without compare is a vile, evil act and the apparent motivation just compounds this. But never underestimate the shared humanity and solidarity that is present in the world over this and the many other tragedies around the world... There is too much apathy and spin in media reporting these days...