Journalists under scrutiny for posting names of Sandy Hook shooters

Following the Sandy Hook tragedy, the question as to whether the names of the shooters of these sorts of incidents should be made public worked its way through social media.

The notion is that perpetrators of violent crimes such as the Sandy Hook shooting should not given any attention themselves, such as posting the name of the Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza. It is believed that part of the motivation for mass killers such as Lanza comes from the wanting of attention and that by posting the names publicly, the media is catering to such killers. 

The Vice-President of the national Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, also said in a press conference how restraining the media from posting names would help prevent copy cat killers from being inspired by shooters such as Lanza.

Although the idea has been gaining some circulation, there are still those that oppose it because it violates the First Amendment. Other reasons are made by journalists such as Christopher Hanson at American Journalism Review, who said that it creating this form of censorship would making creating a coherent story incredibly difficult.

Without some form of media, we would never hear about these types of tragedies, but how much of the story does the public need to hear? Is it a threat to our own safety and the safety of others to post the names of killers because it might inspire someone else to commit a crime? Would censoring news media be a step in harming the free press in the long run?

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2 Comments on “Journalists under scrutiny for posting names of Sandy Hook shooters”

  1. Steve Buttry says:

    Thanks for the link. To be clear, I never suggested any sort of censorship of media. I suggested voluntary withholding of names of mass killers, just as media sometimes decide to withhold names of confidential sources or rape survivors.

    • mattsimm2013 says:

      You’re welcome, and thank you for the response.
      I didn’t mean to imply that’s what you, specifically, were suggesting however, but instead it was meant to be a broad question about the subject in general. Next time I’ll try to avoid such implications better.


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