NBC' release of "news porn" on its airwaves last evening was deeply irresponsible. Even its in-house retired FBI profiler said he wouldn't release it if it were up to him.
I refer to as news porn because it had little or no news value. It was propaganda from a pyschopath and NBC gave the killer the last nearly unedited word. The Virginia Tech killer was crazy, but rational enough to know that NBC was also crazy enough to air his sicko variety show.
I don't believe NBC when it says it thought long and hard about airing the material. I also was disappointed that other stations followed NBC down that path. They could have isolated NBC by refusing to run the footage. That just tells you the other networks don't want to preclude the possibility of running a similar freak show if the next killer drops a package at their door.
Other debates on this subject are raging on the internet, including at Tribune blogs belonging to Eric Zorn and Maureen Ryan.
I do have two questions that puzzle me in the wake of the NBC fiasco:
1. When NBC called the FBI, what did the feds say about releasing the material? And why did the feds let NBC copy it all. Or did NBC copy it before the feds arrived?
2. If Cho had this grand plan to commit mass murder, why did he shoot two people and then wait two hours before killing again? If that was his plan, it seems illogical because the university very well could have shut down the campus or reacted in a way that would have prevented his free travel to his second shooting location. I know we are not dealing with a rational person, but other parts of his "plan" seem to have thought out. Had he wanted to mail all that material to NBC, he could have done it before he started killing.