November 23, 2013

It's not a game

I'm always surprised when media sources fail to be proactive. I'm not sure if this is news everywhere, but in NYC the media can't stop talking about the "knockout game". Game?
Police are investigating whether a rash of cowardly sucker punch assaults in Brooklyn is all part of a sick "knockout game."

The latest victim — a 78-year-old woman in Midwood — came forward on Tuesday and told police she was hit in the back of her head while walking along E. 5th St. and Ave. L earlier this month.

That woman, along with seven Orthodox Jews who were attacked in Crown Heights, could all be targets of a mean-spirited knockout game in which people are punched in the back of the head and onlookers post video of the assault to the Web. [Emphasis mine.]
I get it. Some kids call this the "knockout game". But that's no reason for the media to spread the terminology around. For Dog's sake, don't call it a game.

[Note: I have to give credit where it's due: the above-linked NY Daily News article at least managed to provide one mention of this being a "cowardly suckerpunch assault". But then they reverted to calling it a "game". Sigh.]

Call it a "knockout crime" or a "cowardly suckerpunch" or simply "sociopathic behavior" -- but don't call it a "game". The consequence of using this innocent term is that you're creating a playful meme; you're telling the public that this is a simple, childlike behavior. It diminishes the heinous nature of the crime.

In the US, the news media rarely feel responsibility for the news they present. I remember that it took about ten years for the media to stop saying that this or that organization "took credit" for a bombing or shooting. Credit is what's given for a laudable act. And then one bright day, the media got some sense slapped into it, and began to say that this or that organization "took responsibility" for the crime. Phew. Was that so hard?

Why can't the media wake up at the beginning of a terrible trend in terminology? Why can't they see right now that calling this cowardly suckerpunch crime a "knockout game" is a terrible idea? 

The media act like irresponsible children. And that's an accurate call. They led us into a false war, they don't provide accurate information about who's lying and who's telling the truth, and they spread damaging ideas on a daily basis -- without a qualm. I guess they like to play the irresponsibility game. That one's hurting us, too. Every day and in every way.

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