A recent interview with Tom Brokaw conducted by Hugh Hewitt on Townhall.com reveals that the retired newscaster supported his former network's decision to air Virginia Tech murderer Cho Seung Hui's videotaped hate-filled monologue. He wasn't concerned about a series of imitators who might also want their hundreds of hours of airtime. No, he was concerned about, of course, video games. Brokaw pointed to games and, curiously, blogs as "cancerous". His full comment on two of the 21st century horsemen of the apocalypse is better in context.
HH: NBC ran the Virginia Tech killer tape on the day they obtained it. Steve Capus, Brian Williams made that decision. Did they make the right decision?
TB: Yeah, they did.
HH: Do you not think it's going to incite other people to try to do the same thing?
TB: No, I don't. I think...to get back to something we were talking about earlier in general thematic terms, I don't think we're doing a very good job about talking about violence in this country, either. You know, Virginia Tech went away. We didn't have any ongoing dialogue in our communities or on the air about the corrosive effect of violence. It was not what he, what people saw of him on the air that will drive them, it's what they read in blog sites, and what they see in video games. It's that kind of stuff that I think is cancerous. And I'm a free speech absolutist, but I think that at the same time, we have to have free speech in some kind of a context. And part of that context is a discussion of the possible effects of it.
ne might wonder, in light of Omaha mall shooter Robert Hawkins wishes to "go out in style", boasting in his suicide note that "just think tho I'm gonna be fuckin' famous", that the promise of having one's life dissected on broadcast television might have been influential on Hawkins interest in murdering eight people before his suicide. Hey, that's just me speculating. Perhaps if I had were a bit more of a wrinkly, silver-haired dinosaur, fumbling through a world I don't understand, like many video game critics, I'd be able to better understand the "context" of the situation.
Sorry, but there's little more I can add without letting loose with a string of expletives and looking forward to the passing of a generation of confused Luddites who divert blame from some of the world's genuine problems.
Ultimately, though, if Brokaw's right, the lot of Kotaku readers are totally screwed, basking in the carcinogenic rays of video games and blog posts. Sorry for causing you to die early, dear readers, if so.