Is Media Coverage of Dylann Roof’s Manifesto Helping Spread the Killer’s Ideology?


Dylann Roof’s photos, posing with a Confederate flags and a guns, are now spattered across the Internet. The hate-filled manifesto attributed to him is being widely posted and parsed.

Does that only help spread his ideology and encourage others to turn to violence?

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After other mass shootings, some critics and psychologists have issued a plea for media outlets to give as little voice to the perpetrators as possible. The need is to deny suspects the apparent glory they sought, to discourage copycats, and to avoid quoting propaganda that sometimes fuels other shooters.

Yet there are significant differences between this case and those of other mass shootings, suggests Ari Schulman, executive editor of the New Atlantis, who has argued in the past for not giving undue media attention to killers and their manifestos.

These victims weren’t random. Mr. Roof didn’t try to kill himself or get himself killed. The writings suggest there could be real political and ideological motivations that deserve attention, so long as the media doesn’t romanticize the ramblings, says Mr. Schulman, executive editor of the New Atlantis.

“If you stand back and treat it with awe, then you’re giving it more power than it should have,” he says. “It should be regarded as a piece of propaganda.”

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SOURCE: Amanda Paulson
Christian Science Monitor

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