Is The News Fit To Print?
That is the question many people are asking about the video and images the Virginia Tech shooter sent to NBC News, and which NBC has chosen to release portions of.
To me, the first question that needs to be asked is "Is it news?" Once the answer is "yes," the only remaining one is whether there is some direct and immediate harm that overrules question one. Publishing the location of a Special Forces group in Waziristan would be an example of news overruled by harm. Publishing the loony ravings of the VTech shooting isn't even close.
I buy newspapers and watch news shows for (duh!) the news. If NBC News has it and doesn't give it to me, I'll go elsewhere. If they have news I don't care about or find too depressing to watch, I'll go elsewhere. But the fact is, disturbing and depressing events are, by definition, more likely to be newsworthy than "all is well."
Not everyone agrees with me, obviously.
UPDATE: A terrific article by Mark Steyn on the questions we asked yesterday regarding the passive behavior of the VTech shooting victims. A must-read!