Thursday, August 27, 2015

What Watching the #WDBJ Shooting Says — and Does Not Say — About You

From Mary McNamara, at the Los Angeles Times, "Critic's Notebook If we watch the Virginia TV shooting is the suspected shooter 'winning'?":

Alison Parker and Adam Ward photo journalists-killed_zpspjdruc9r.jpg
To watch or not to watch.

Early Wednesday morning, reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were shot to death during a live interview for WDBJ-TV, a CBS affiliate based in Roanoke, Va. In less than an hour, clips of the event were on YouTube.

It soon developed that the suspected shooter, Vester Flanagan, a former reporter for WDBJ, appeared to have recorded the shooting himself, posted it on Facebook and then tweeted about it using his on-air name, Bryce Williams. Flanagan shot himself while being chased by police and later died.

The Twitter and Facebook accounts were quickly suspended, and YouTube took down the videos, but the disturbing images continued to circulate, prompting an equally widespread "Don't Watch" campaign.

At best, some said, watching or sharing the footage was an endorsement of a media culture run amok, proof that the medium has indeed become the message — people will now literally do anything to be on television.

At worst, it made us complicit in the killings themselves.

Either way, if we watched the brief tragic clips of the attack on Parker and Ward, or the chilling footage taken by Flanagan just before he began shooting, somehow Flanagan would "win."

As if Flanagan were powerful enough to define our reactions to his crime or if any of those reactions were more important than the fact and nature of murder. As if news were suddenly beholden to feelings of gentility and any medium should be blamed for insane people attempting to leverage it for their own dissociated ends...

Actually, leftist "don't watch" social media campaigns are always designed to help Democrats. Ignore them. If you want to watch the video, watch it. Flanagan's dead. He has no power over anything. Frankly, watching allows people to bear witness to the enormity of this assault on decency. And of course the enormity of Democrat Party evil.

FLASHBACK: See Jeff Jacoby, "James Foley video is grim, but we owe it to him to bear witness."