Today's Blogs

Cho’s Manifesto

Bloggers discuss the Virginia Tech shooter’s “manifesto” and react to Sanjaya’s American Idol ouster.

Cho’s manifesto: After he killed two students in a dormitory but before he killed 30 people at Norris Hall, Cho Seung-Hui mailed a “multimedia manifesto” to NBC News in which he railed against rich kids and posed with his weaponry. Bloggers debated NBC’s decision to air some of the footage.

At Captain’s Quarters, conservative Ed Morrissey praises NBC for pre-empting undue speculation: “In most circumstances, society is served better by the free dissemination of information, unless its release would put directly put lives in danger. … In this case, the crime has already been committed and the perpetrator is dead. Holding back the material would boost all sorts of rumors about Cho’s involvement in any number of conspiracies, including radical Islam, that are already the subject of much speculation.”

But righty Lawhawk draws a line between transparency and exploitation at A Blog for All: “[W]e’ve repeatedly been told that many of the more disturbing images from the 9/11 attacks would not be aired out of sensitivity to the victims and survivors. … How exactly is this situation any different? People were emotionally wrecked hearing about the loss of their loved ones and/or watching their loved ones being carried out of the VA Tech buildings. They’re again devastated watching the news pimp Cho’s videos and images. Where is the decency or at least restraint in what should be produced.” Slate’s Mickey Kaus also criticizes NBC, writing: “NBC’s responsibility seems especially heavy since, as the sole recipient of Cho’s posthumous publicity kit, they had the power to keep it bottled up and deny him the reward he sought, no?” and asks “Who did more damage, Brian Williams or Don Imus?”

At media blog BuzzMachine, Jeff Jarvis  points out that the YouTube era creates a new dynamic: “The essential infrastructure of news and media has changed forever: There is no control point anymore. When anyone and everyone — witnesses, criminals, victims, commenters, officials, and journalists — can publish and broadcast as events happen, there is no longer any guarantee that news and society itself can be filtered, packaged, edited, sanitized, polished, secured. … And let’s not presume that we all need NBC or anyone to protect us from life as it is. But we do need to make sure to educate our children to be media-wise in a new media world.”

John Hawkins at Right Wing News acknowledges the role of Web 2.0 but argues it was NBC’s call, this time: “Sueng-Hui could have just easily uploaded his videos to YouTube and it’s many imitators and even if they’d taken the videos down, it would have been copied, posted, and promoted relentlessly over the web and gotten out to just as many people over the course of a few weeks.That being said, this time around, NBC was the gatekeeper.”

Some of Cho’s photos mirrored scenes from the 2003 film Oldboy. Macranger at conservative Macsmind mentions that Cho could have expressed an idea of revenge popular in Korean cinema: “[T]he key to understanding Cho is in understanding the Eastern idea of revenge, anger, passion. When we saw the photos I said, ‘Oldboys!’. My wife commented, ‘He was acting like he’s a movie star!’ We have Korean programming via Satellite and I have to tell you some of the violence shown in their shows - specifically the more dark and macabe movies - is shocking to the Western mindset.”

Read more about Cho’s manifesto.

Sanjaya! Follicular chameleon Sanjaya Malakar was voted off American Idol on Wednesday, ending an unexpectedly sustained run. Bloggers divide among celebrants and mourners.

Mark Caro at Chicago Tribune blog Pop Machine keeps his hopes high: “Sure, you got voted off “American Idol” to leave six contestants behind, but you know who else did that? A little someone named…Jennifer Hudson…Think about the parallels: You were the most prominent personality of the ‘Idol’ bunch only to be eliminated to the dismay of some extremely loyal fans. OK, your singing talents may be, um, different from Hudson’s, but you’re all about dwelling on the positive so …Clear some space on that mantel, Sanjaya, and start thinking: Oscar!”

Alternati, in contrast, was unabashedly elated on pop culture blog Sarcasm Aside: “Is anyone else ecstatic the world said ‘Sayonara Sanjaya’? Finally, the seemingly tone-deaf American audience voted off… err… that sounds wrong… anyways… voted off the multi-coifed AI finalist. I guess faux-hawks, minority representation and charisma (which I never got from him) can only take you so far. The folks at votefortheworst aren’t too pleased I presume, and they’re looking for a replacement for their papaya Sanjaya.”

Read more about Sanjaya.