- The Washington Times - Monday, December 17, 2012

As with any major news event these days, people are learning about and reacting to the shootings in Connecticut via social media, and one Internet-based “meme” on the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., that has gone viral is a Facebook post on the media’s objectification of killers by Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman.

Only it isn’t.

A spokesman for the actor tells entertainment website OnTheRedCarpet.com that Mr. Freeman had nothing to do with the commentary.

Facebook sent word to its users Monday afternoon that the post — which is, by almost anyone’s measure, well-written, provocative and thoughtful — seems to have been created by a Vancouver Facebooker identified only as “Mark,” who joked that the item would get more attention if it were attributed to someone such as Morgan Freeman or Betty White.

In the attribution that went viral on Facebook, the actor, reportedly responding to those asking “Why?” in the wake of the Newtown shootings, offers the following:

“You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.

“It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single victim of Columbine? Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

“CNN’s article says that if the body count “holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations-, sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

“You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem.”



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