NBC Debated For Hours Releasing VA Killer’s Video


The package from Cho Seung Hui that arrived at NBC News yesterday contained both a worldwide scoop and a journalistic dilemma, says the Washington Post. After turning over the material to federal authorities, NBC News President Steve Capus said he faced a “tough call” in deciding how much to air, if any, of the Virginia Tech gunman’s expletive-filled video and 1,800-word letter, along with photos of Cho and his guns and bullets. “We tried to be sensitive to the families involved and to the investigation,” Capus said. While it is “possible” that some relatives of the 32 students shot to death Monday may say that the network is giving the killer the platform he wanted, “they also may say, ‘We want to know why. We need to know what was in his head, what drove him to do this.’ This is a portrait of a killer.”

Former FBI agent Clint Van Zandt told NBC anchor Brian Williams that the mailing was Cho’s “ultimate victory. This is the way he’s victimizing, further victimizing all of us, by reaching out from the grave and grabbing us and getting our attention and making us listen to his last rambling words and pictures.” Capus said network journalists debated for hours what they should make public. “There are some things we haven’t shown and words we haven’t released that are more appropriate to hold back,” he said. “Journalists have a responsibility. We’re not just here to pass on in direct form raw video and complete documents.”

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/18/AR2007041802791.html

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