To some newshounds, blood is like crack: they just can't get enough.
Like most people, the news that yet another gunman has gone on what the press are breathlessly calling a rampage made me sad when I heard. The fact that this has happened in the US has meant that I am not remotely surprised, however, and I suppose there’s a great debate to be had in there about how desensitised we’re all becoming to violence and bloodshed but I really can’t be bothered having it either here or in real life so for anyone who’d reached for their soapbox in anticipation, I apologise.
What has struck me most about this incident is that the news channels have been reporting it as if it were some great big fun event for all the family. Every report I’ve seen on it as it pays on perma-rotation on every channel has gone to great lengths to list just how many people were killed- sorry, SLAUGHTERED- and just how long it took for the gunman to carry out the crime- sorry, I mean EXECUTE everybody. It’s being reported as if it were a death defying stunt on Blue Peter, a record-breaking attempt or an adaptation of an Andy McNab novel, hopelessly detached from the reality that is a very awful set of killings and instead giving people too young to remember Rambo something to get hard over.
I realise that as a blogger I should advocate the use of citizen journalism but I’ve had my fill of shaky footage taken from a vodka-splattered Sony Ericsson and panting ‘eye’witnesses telling their first-hand account of absolutely nothing. I guess I expect it online but on the television I’d rather something a little more substantial than what amounts to having a freesheet flickerbooked before my eyes. People have been moaning about sensationalised journalism for years and it has always been a problem but when I hear yet another recount of how this is the ‘biggest mass shooting in America’ I start to wonder if people aren’t getting a kick out of all the drama. I wonder how long it will be before EastEnders incorporates some kind of high school massacre in its storylines. Hollyoaks is already pretty prolific in mass-murdering its cast at strarlingly regular intervals.
I guess the news doesn’t create such horrific scenes and merely reports them but I can’t help but think that these situations are horrible enough without every last detail spilling out onto the floor like an old, dropped handbag.