In an unusual midcourse correction, TV networks have scaled back or stopped running the disturbing video made by Virginia Tech killer Cho Seung-Hui, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Bowing to a storm of public censure and the outrage from victims’ families, NBC said that it would severely limit its use of the video on all NBC and MSNBC broadcasts. The other networks quickly followed suit.
Newspapers and Web sites handled the images in different ways. The Inquirer published a picture of Cho at the bottom of the front page, with a caption providing information for linking to the videotape and other photos. The Philadelphia Daily News devoted its front page to a picture of Cho aiming a gun point-blank at the lens. The New York Times published a picture at the top of its front page showing Cho holding two guns, the same image published in many other papers. Did NBC make the correct call in initially broadcasting Cho’s videos? “I fail to see any public value in it,” said Matthew Felling of Washington’s Center for Media and Public Affairs. “It’s giving the assailant what he wanted: attention and a platform. “If NBC had the video exclusively, it could have at least had the good taste to wait until after the funerals were over.”