Must we see Aurora shooting suspect's mug every day?

On behalf of the entire world, as actor Richard Gere might say, we’ve got a request for our friends in the rest of the media:


Please, can we put away the Aurora shooter’s photo for awhile?

Within days, maybe hours, of the horrific shooting, a lot of us were already plain tired of seeing this suspect’s face. It’s offensive and stomach-turning, and it’s only made worse by the knowledge that it’s exactly the kind of global nonstop publicity many mass murderers crave.

In fairness to news outlets, we being one of them, the overkill of this guy’s wide-eyed, orange-haired stare isn’t all their fault. Much of the repetition comes from seeing it in different media – on the various news networks, in newspapers and on a ton of websites. So it’s not just the number of days the guy’s photo is run, it’s also the number of places.

But really. Is it truly necessary to re-run this guy’s mug every time there’s a new tidbit of information in the case?

It doesn’t violate any journalistic principle to take into account the public’s abhorrence for self-flagellation. There’s no reason why the public has to be spoon fed this stuff. And again, there’s no journalistic imperative that is served by serving up a constant reminder of the insanity in this or any other suspect’s police photo.

Nor is it “censorship.” It’s a decision as to whether any public good is served by rote publication or broadcast of the same image over and over and over.

There’s nothing to see here. Do everyone a favor, and move on.

Of course, there’s one huge exception to this request: If it turns out your ratings or readership go up anytime you run this guy’s glamour shot, then have at it.

We’ll only get what we deserve.



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