Criminologist rips CNN for hyping Vegas shooter: ‘This has gone from news reporting to celebrity watch’
Criminology professor James Alan Fox cautioned CNN on Thursday about humanizing Las Vegas mass shooter Stephen Paddock and making him into a celebrity.
During a CNN panel discussion about possible motives for the massacre of 58 people, Fox turned the topic to the media’s coverage of the shooter’s personal life.
“He, like most mass killers, planned the event for days, weeks and months,” Fox said. “These are not people who just suddenly snap and decide they are going to kill lots of people.”
“Let me also say,” he added, “that this has now gone from news reporting to celebrity watch. So much of the details that we’re now hearing about his job, doing karaoke is really just making someone — a monster — into a human being, it’s humanizing him, shedding a spotlight on this individual, making him a hero in the eyes of some other people. I think we’ve gone overboard.”
CNN host Kate Bolduan seemed to take the criticism personally.
“James, I definitely promise you that — one — I’m not saying his name,” she insisted. “And I’m in no way trying to do anything but report what the facts are. I don’t think we’ve done anything here to try and make this man into a celebrity.”
“We want the motive, certainly,” Fox replied. “But get the motive, that will put closure on the event. But it’s not going to help us identify or predict future mass killers. All I’m saying is that some of these details that you had indicated, they are important. But we’ve heard so many other things about his background, what people said about him, where he went to high school, went to college. That only makes him larger than life.”
“We have to be careful about that line between reporting the news and turning someone into larger than life.” he said.
Watch the video below from CNN.