Written by: Taylor Castillo, AAE for CWU Collegiate Sport Clubs
Media today is heavily controlled and practically spoon-fed to the public through all aspects of convergent media. Media giants have the power to heighten the hysteria of broadcast news as well as shade and even disregard stories that should be made public. More often than not, news that should be promoted is swept under the rug because networks are fearful of their ratings.
Because news giants focus on ratings rather than accurate reporting, it seems as though they’ll do just about anything to capture viewers attention.
In August of 2015, a shocking incident was filmed and broadcast on live television in Virginia when a disgruntled coworker shot and killed cameraman, Adam Ward and news reporter, Alison Parker, then later took his own life. This shocking footage drew attention to controversial gun laws and also received attention from President Obama.
That was until the public began to notice something unnerving about the news footage.
Within two weeks of the shooting, people had brought to light the many issues involved with the taping of the murders. First of all, the shooter aimed his gun at the news reporter and shot multiple fires at point blank and yet the reporter was able to run away without falling to the ground until she was out of the shot. There was no blood, no bullet shells and when the footage cut back to the news anchor her reaction was less than terrified (as any normal human beings reaction should be).
Once news of the Virginia shooting hoax came forward, the attention of the murders completely vanished. Even social media pages owned by the news reporter were taken down in an effort to mask the grisly fraud.
Their crisis team’s tactic was to completely and immediately pull the story out of the public eye and that is exactly what they did. There was no follow up with this scandal, no repercussions of the actor’s known and no apology to the public whatsoever.
It’s as if the media didn’t want to deal with yet another stricter gun laws activist and instead turned a blind eye to the whole ordeal and forgot about it.
So why aren’t we talking about this? How is it ethical to fake your own death on live television and the only crisis management involved was silence? This stunt brings up the hugely popular debate of the media telling us what to believe and think.
Whether this was a cruel and tragic murder of two well-loved people or a revolting stunt to provoke stricter gun laws, this crisis was poorly mismanaged and is still a questioning issue to this day.