Playing The Blame Game at FOXNews Using the Virginia Tech Tragedy for Ratings
As a graduate of Virginia Tech, my reaction to the senseless act of violence by a single deranged individual is one of deep sorrow for the terrible toll this event has taken on everyone associated with the school. Those affected include the families of those who were brutally murdered or injured, the student body, faculty, administrative and support personnel at Virginia Tech, the Blacksburg, Virginia community, and all alumni and members of organizations who have dealt with Virginia Tech over the years. Virginia Tech has a very large family and they’ve all been stunned by this terrible tragedy.
Unfortunately, in the wake of such unthinkable tragedies as that which occurred at Virginia Tech, we can sadly be assured that the cable news organizations will not miss an opportunity to hype ratings by trying to further sensationalize. What I refer to is the blatant attempt to stir the emotions and anger over the affair by finding fault with the procedures followed by police and the administration.
In this tragic event, FOXNews’ Bill O’Reilly and Geraldo Rivera are distinguished by the depths to which they’ve descended in their shabby attempts to further sensationalize this horrific event.
Less than 13 hours after the initial shooting, Bill O’Reilly condemns the police and University president for failure to prevent the further bloodshed. Within 24 hours of the event, Geraldo Rivera is incensed that he was unable to ask accusatory questions of officials – questions that would have clearly been designed to “expose” their failure to take measures that might have prevented the second shootings from unfolding.
Yet, is it realistic to take the position that O’Reilly and Rivera champion?
Think about these factors:
This event is without precedent. It’s very easy in hindsight to find fault and lay blame for an event that is unprecedented, but is it realistic to expect anyone could have imagined in their wildest speculations that the day would have unfolded as it did?
There was no evidence whatsoever that the earlier shootings would lead to additional acts of violence. Apparently, as characterized by the campus police from information available to them at the time, the earlier shootings had all the appearances of a “domestic” dispute. There was no rational basis for believing that a crazed gunman was on the loose.
Let’s consider an analogy. Suppose the Virginia State Police come upon an accident on Interstate 81. They find a minivan has gone off the road at high speed and killed the two occupants. Their preliminary investigation suggests the driver may have fallen asleep or may have been trying to avoid an animal, but nothing suggests that the accident was anything more than an isolated event. A few hours later 120 miles down the same highway a school bus full of children on a field trip is run off a bridge by a crazed truck driver, killing all aboard. Subsequent investigation reveals that that same truck had earlier run the minivan off the highway. Would O’Reilly and Rivera be raising shrill voices in condemnation of the Virginia State Police for not shutting down all traffic on Interstate 81 until the minivan accident investigation was completed?
I can appreciate that O’Reilly and Rivera, stunned as we all were by the magnitude of these senseless acts, were responding emotionally to the situation by trying to assess blame. But professional journalists should be above that type behavior and capable of keeping their personal emotions under control so that they don’t needlessly heighten the anguish of the families of victims of the tragedy.
That is the greater tragedy of the actions of these FOXNews personalities. They are deliberately taking a position that is not sustainable by rational thought and, in doing so, they are making the tragedy even worse for the families and friends of all who are affected.
Shame on you, Bill O’Reilly! Shame on you Geraldo Rivera!
Bob Webster is a descendent of Daniel Webster's father and early American patriot, Ebenezer Webster. Bob has always had a strong interest in history, our Constitution, U.S. politics and law. Politically he is a constitutional republican ("little r" republican) with objectivist and libertarian roots, he has faith in the ultimate triumph of truth and reason over deception and emotion. He is a strong believer in our Constitution as written and views the abandonment of constitutional restraint by the regressive Progressive movement as a great danger to our Republic. His favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and believes it should be required reading for every high school student so they can understand the dangers of tolerating the growth of unconstitutional crushingly powerful central government. He strongly believes, as our Constitution enshrines, that the interests of the individual should be held superior to the interests of the state.
A lifelong interest in meteorology and climatology spurred his strong interest in science. Bob earned his degree in Mathematics at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1964.