Tuesday, April 17, 2007

News coverage - Virginia Tech murders - the unfolding story; Cho Seung-Hui; Ismail Ax

The story of the Virginia Tech shooting has emerged slowly over the past two days. We still know very little about the killer and his motives, although we are getting hints from the various news items. We still don't know the full story of how the events of the day unfolded yesterday.

Last week I watched old NBC news footage of the Jonestown massacre from November 1978. It was interesting that even 48 hours after the massacre, the anchors gave the death count at just below 400 (instead of the 900+ it actually turned out to be), while they speculated that 500+ cultists were hiding in the jungle. That turned out to be incorrect, as those 500+ had died with the others.

I observed the same immediate confusion in the coverage of 9-11. CNN replayed its 9-11 coverage on the five year anniversary seven months ago. The CNN anchors were still speculating about navigation errors 15 minutes after the second airplane hit the towers. The full story of the hijacking took hours to emerge, with crucial details still dribbling out the following morning.

I recall when President Reagan was shot in 1981, we did not understand the motives of his attacker, John Hinckley, until the next day (or later) when details of his obsession with Jodie Foster became known.

Years from now, we will forget that we were in the dark for so many days or hours in the immediate aftermath of the killings at Virginia Tech. MSM/DNC becomes more polished the more time passes in the wake of any news item. As various parts of the MSM/DNC "get their story straight," the MSM/DNC line becomes standard and can be reduced to a few soundbites. That is why immediate coverage of any major story is interesting. We have the chance the catch the MSM/DNC off guard.

I have specific memories of a few highlights of the unfolding story from yesterday and today. I first heard mention of the story shortly before 1:00 on Fox Sports Radio. I almost immediately compared the coverage at the websites of NBC, ABC and CBS. ABC had interrupted regular programming with Charles Gibson, who speculated as to roughly 21 deaths. NBC's Brian Williams provided roughly the same death toll, even though MSNBC was simultaneously reporting only one death and that police had a gunman in custody. [This statement about a gunman in custody remained on the MSNBC website even as ABC and NBC reported that the lone killer was dead].

Upon checking CBS' website, it appeared that CBS was still talking about Don Imus. It was difficult to navigate the CBS website and its videos, as I kept getting interrupted by commercials from Katie Couric describing new CBS web features and e-mail alerts that CBS can send to your mobile phone. I guess it is important that CBS keep us informed of updates on the Imus story.

ABC news and others quickly got the gun control drums beating with polls and commentators discussing the gun control angle.

As the day progressed, through eyewitnesses interviews, we gradually learned that the killer was "Asian." The death toll gradually approached and exceeded 30.

By seven o'clock this morning, Matt Lauer's and Meredith Viera's teleprompter took to the airwaves and repeated last evening's updates in a tone that suggested that these updates were somehow new.

This morning, we learned of the killer's name, country of origin and student and citizenship status. During the day, details emerged of his "disturbing" writings and status as a loner. We learned that after he had killed two people at the dormitory, he went back to his room before proceeding to the engineering building and beginning the largest part of the massacre.


Only this afternoon did we see the photo of Emily - the first victim whose (as of yet) unexplained relatioship with the killer might explain the rampage.

Today also we learned that the killer had the words "Ismail ax" written on his body. This phrase has (among other explanations) Islamic implications, which means that the MSM/DNC will never investigate its meaning.

Aside from the usual MSM/DNC propaganda, the things we learn about the shootings in the next few days will make the posts of the last few days appear to be a strange time capsule.
afternoon 4-18-07 update

I don't intend to update every development in this case, but the examples below help demonstrate my point that stories develop slowly.

ABC News reported this afternoon that, less than 18 months ago, Cho was determined by a court to be "mentally ill" and was then released. Much of the focus and discussion of this case will turn to the premature release of mentally ill or dangerous patients. We will soon forget that we were ever in the dark about Cho's mental problems.

It also appears that "Emily" had no relationship with Cho, even though she may unintentionally have become the Jodie Foster of this story. Years from now, we may surprised to look back on the early news coverage and see that many of us believed that an actual relationship existed between Emily and Cho.

The MSM/DNC remains largely silent on Ismail Ax. While I don't doubt the insanity theory as an explanation for this tragedy, that theory doesn't rule out the possibility of the corrosive effects of Islamism on this young man. Who among us believes that Mohammed Atta was sane in the days or months leading up to 9-11? Or that John Allen Mohammed was/is sane?
update - 4-19-07 - noon.
Last night, it was revealed that Cho had mailed a package to NBC containing videotape of Cho's suicide message, fueling greater speculation and debate. The tape aired yesterday evening for the first time.

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