While I agree with Atrios that media paternalism can be an irritating and patronizing tic, I'm not sure that a decision not to air the video of the Virginia Tech shooter so soon after the killings would have fallen into that category. It's always a judgment call as to what is and isn't appropriate but a line seems to be drawn at the point where the high speed chase stops and the guy blows his head off. Watching the video of the shooter played wall-to-wall on MSNBC so quickly after the incident struck me as awfully close to that, and I can imagine that people in the community trying to process their grief probably weren't helped by it. If it has news value — and as Atrios noted, the news value NBC claims it has seem dubious — it would still have that same value several weeks from now and presented in a more analytical context, though it would not be nearly the ratings bonanza.
And as for this — well, it argues that our friends at the Corner just grow dumber and dumberer. There is in fact no inconsistency between making a movie critical of the media's unhealthy obsession with mass murderers, and then being critical of the media when they actually, you know, do just that. It's been something I've written about for quite some time, I've long referred to the bath that cable news took in 9/11 as wingnut porn, and I think the irresponsible, sensation-driven nature pitched to emotional 10 year-olds at the time did much to whip the country into a bloodlust that George Bush and the neocons found easy to exploit. The irresposibility of the present moment probably won't have such tragic consequences, but there are nonetheless important stories — like the SCOTUS abortion decision or Gonzales's testimony — that won't be covered because CNN put a hundred grief pimps on the ground in Virginia (according to a Guardian UK journalist I spoke with yesterday). We may not as a media culture be capable of better at the moment, but it is something we should aspire to.
I won't even start to discuss the difference between fiction and reality, which actually involves real people and real consequences, because I think the wingnut permanent state of denial on that front is rather impenetrable — living as hey do in a world where an aging flabby white perv like John Derbyshire is fancied a superhero.
Byron York: big hair, little mind.
Update: For all the reasons Roy explains here, this does not mean I agree with the wingnuts about the Cho video. They have another agenda entirely. (h/t Dover Bitch)