I am assuming that by now, most of you have seen the video of the Florida teenager getting senselessly beat by other female students. It is a sickening video to watch. The girl is continually cornered and then kicked, jabbed by knees and punched repeatedly. The girls are screaming at each other but it is hard to make out what they are saying other than they are obviously using some very harsh and emotionally charged words. Now, I am not using this post to discuss whether or not the beating was ethical- I am hoping all would agree that it was not. Instead, I want to look at how the media handeled it.
I first saw the video on the CBS Early Show . I was appalled. I could not believe how much of it they were showing. The faces of all involved were blurred out, but you could hear the shouting in the background and see exactly what was happening to the victim. It was horrific. I saw updates about it throughout the day on CNN and then saw it again the next morning once again on CBS. The news anchors talked with the parents about what had happened and the normal questions of what might have led up to this. The girls recorded the entire incident for one reason. They were hoping to post it on YouTube. As I read an article on CNN's Web site about it, the following paragraphs really stuck out.
The suspects didn't have a chance to post the video online before police moved in and seized it, Judd said. The Sheriff's Department made it public, and it wound up on YouTube anyway. Judd recognizes the irony."In a perverted sense, we were feeding into exactly what the kids wanted," he said. "But according to Florida law, [the video] is public record, and it's going to be in the public domain whether we agree with that or not."
Well, there you have it. The video was supposed to go on YouTube, was [almost] stopped by police, until they themselves made it public. The thing really bothering me here is how the media has gone crazy with showing it. There isn't a hunt for the suspects that would give them a reason to play it so frequently. It was made public because it is dealing with a legal case. I just do not feel that the newsstations need to be playing as much of it and as frequently as they do.
One final side note. The CNN article referenced in this blog starts out: "Eight Florida teenagers -- six of them girls -- will be tried as adults..." Is it necessary that we point how many were girls? Had it been 6 boys and 2 girls would that have been mentioned? Would the story have even got this type of attention if it was all guys involved in the incident. Again, just a side note, but something to keep in mind.