Thursday, April 19, 2007


Gonzales plays down role in firings - Politics -

Well, Sanjaya has let me down--or, more accurately, Alberto Gonzales has proven more resilient than a cockroach after a nuclear winter. I predicted more than a month ago that Sanjaya would last longer on Idol than Alberto would at the DOJ, but he's lying to Congress this morning while Sanjaya makes the morning TV rounds after his ouster.

The Gonzales hearing probably won't yield much truth, but it has served one purpose: has finally stopped running a full-width banner of Cho Seung-Hui pointing a gun at me across its main page. Don't get me wrong: I'm not diminishing the importance of this story. But just because NBC "got lucky" and received a package of audiovisual material from a killer doesn't mean the network has an ethical imperative to plaster footage and pictures everywhere they can.

And where are all the folks who scream about copycat crimes based on violent movies? Here's a deranged guy who shot up his campus and guess what? His message of anger and rage is finally being heard by someone other than his video camera. His picture is everywhere; pull up any major news site this morning and there was Cho, glock in hand, looking for all the world like an action hero about to seek justice at gunpoint. Comparing himself to Jesus Christ, railing against America's consumer culture, blaming the victims of his crime--all of this Cho has been able to do posthumously because no one in NBC's news room had the sense to say, "Stop. Wait. This may be interesting, but should we really reward the brutal murder of 32 people by publishing the last manifesto of their killer?"

Copy a violent movie? Why bother? Now misanthropes the world over have a good example of how to go out in a blaze of glory. I bet every person who reads this can think of someone they knew in college who had the potential for an act like this, even if he or she wasn't as disturbed as Cho clearly was. The knowledge that all their demented notions could be put out into the world for public consumption is the kind of thing that might put people like this over the edge.

So again, thank you, Alberto, for finally forcing MSNBC to acknowledge that there are more interesting things in the world than the ramblings of a killer. Like the ramblings of a torture-abetting, law-breaking, rule-bending, unqualified nightmare of a "public servant" desperate to cling to his job.

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