I had intended to write another annoyed rant about the news media’s use of the word “shooter” to describe a cold blooded killer, but the topic seemed inadequate to the Connecticut school massacre story. I realized this especially after reading a raw and eloquent Facebook post by one of Atlanta’s best TV reporters, WSB’s Jodie Fleischer. I can’t really top it. It’s reposted below in its entirety.
I am a reporter and a human being. Just like the hundreds of reporters and photographers and producers who are covering this story, we are all crying, inside and out.
We do not show pictures of people grieving to make more money or because it gives us some sort of thrill. We do it because it’s our job to be the eyes and ears for the rest of you. Those images, as horrific as they are for you to see, are even worse in person. Trust me, the devastating images on tv never fully depict what we really see. Yes, sometimes we have to put aside that emotion to do our jobs without looking like bumbling idiots on tv.
Sometimes we just can’t.
In the past 3 days, I’ve seen dozens of Facebook posts criticizing ‘the media’ for not being emotional enough, or for being too emotional showing reporters’ interactions with these grieving families. I’ve seen posts criticizing reporters for interviewing children, who were the majority of the witnesses to this tragedy. Their parents likely made the decision to allow that, because they recognize that the world needs to feel what their children felt.
Reporters are not ‘vultures’ chasing down parents for sport. I have the utmost respect for Emilie Parker’s father for choosing to speak about his beautiful daughter and wanting everyone to know more than just her name.
If you don’t want to see and hear what happened in Connecticut, from the people who lived it, turn off your television. But for the rest of us who can’t stop watching, let’s please allow this to be a platform for meaningful discussions about mental health, guns, and humanity, not opinionated ranting about one political view or another.
I just don’t understand how any rational person could think a deranged lunatic would shoot a bunch of 6 year olds just to get his name in the news. I’m guessing there were other problems in his life, problems that exist for countless others whom we all encounter every day.
Yes, those images my colleagues are sending into your homes are hard to see. They are uncomfortable and disturbing and heartbreaking. I hope we all become better people for recognizing that.