Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

Media coverage of sensational crimes

by Patt Morrison

Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers talks to members of the news media before heading into the Arapahoe County Courthouse for suspect James Holmes' first court appearance July 23, 2012 in Centennial, Colorado. Joshua Lott/Getty Images

President Obama recently agreed to not use James Holmes’ name in the media, in hopes of avoiding giving Holmes more notoriety than he has already received. But should there be a ‘code of ethics’ in the media as well? Some hope that media outlets that cover events like the Aurora shooting would also be careful to not bring more attention and infamy to suspects.

But in the age of the 24-hour news cycle and Twitter, the public is hungry for as much information as possible, and as fast as possible. People are eager to learn what could have driven James Holmes to commit such a horrible act. Some of the victims’ families have been outspoken against publicizing victims and their stories, and not glamorizing what James Holmes did.


Do media outlets have an obligation to the victims? Does the attention that these crimes receive feed the media’s desire to cover them? Can this kind of attention also encourage people to commit these crimes?


Robert Wright, senior editor at the Atlantic; author of “The Moral Animal” and “The Evolution of God”; fellow at the New America Foundation

Leo Braudy, USC professor and cultural historian; author of “The Frenzy of Reknown” and “The Hollywood Sign: Fantasy and Reality of an American Icon”

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