Good job by WPLR's Chaz and AJ (and Megan) on this issue Wed. morning, by the way.
On the release of the VT nutjob's video:
NBC says the release of 2-plus minutes of this rambling lunacy footage from the killer ADVANCED the story, since we wanted to know why he did it and what he was doing during the time between shootings. Here's my take: Any of the networks or local stations, including ABC which led its newscast with a story about NBC showing the video, would have run a chunk of the video footage.
The unwritten rule is, if you have compelling video, it gets shown. Period. I don't agree with this, even though I understand the journalistic urge to cover what people care about.
But the market pressure (ratings and the nature of television, which is built around such visuals) absolutely DEMANDS the stations/networks show a goodly portion of this video. It would be like a chatty high schooler who comes upon a dark secret piece of gossip: The odds against such dirt staying discreet are astronomical.
OF COURSE NBC was going to show the footage; it's the video, stupid! (God I hate that Clintonian-era reference.)
The more noble solution for NBC would have been to show maybe seven seconds (an enternity when it comes to such footage) of the guy rambling and pointing his gun, and then explain calmly to the public that NBC would responsibly show no more of the lunatic's garbage.
The danger in showing more of it is in other disturbed people finding motivation to go out in such a blaze of media-soaked infamy.