The following photo and statement regarding the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy are circulating heavily on Facebook and other social media channels:
Morgan Freeman’s brilliant take on what happened yesterday :
“You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.
It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single victim of
Columbine? Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.
CNN’s article says that if the body count “holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.
You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem.”
Many people wholeheartedly agree with these sentiments, but the claim that Morgan Freeman issued this statement appears to be false. The actor, nor anyone in his camp has come forward to confirm the statement, and no mainstream news sources have verified the story either. On the contrary, other sites have spoken out citing the incident as a hoax.
It’s very common for scammers and hoaxsters to use popular news stories and events to create viral messages on social networking platforms. Social media, like nothing ever before, can rapidly spread information and misinformation around the globe. It’s usually a good idea to take a few moments to research and verify items before blindly clicking the ‘share’ button.
Luckily, in this instance, there isn’t anything harmful being disseminated. The next time we might not be so lucky. In the past, we have seen scams and hoaxes around major media events spread links to malicious sites and downloads.
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