Yahoo’s Irresponsibility–Virginia Tech’s Gunman Video

by Paul Wilson


Cho Seung-Hu A video clip by the Virginia Tech gunman was found on the front page of Yahoo yesterday. The video was mailed to NBC by the gunman, Cho SeungHu, in between Monday’s killings. Currently a debate pursues on whether showing this controversial video will encourage future copy-cat behavior from other troubled individuals.

Cho Seung-Hu - Virginia Tech MurderThis debate may be only between my friend and I, but I feel that it is worth writing about. Yesterday, as I worked on writing my articles for Podango I kept going to Yahoo’s home page to search for particular information. Every time I went there I viewed into the empty eyes of Cho SeungHu, while he pointed two handguns at me.

Interestingly enough, the thought never occurred to me to report on the video until later that night when I talked to my friend Sarah. I told Sarah about how Cho Seung-Ho had sent NBC a package with an assortment of video clips at 9:01 am, about an hour and 45 minutes after Cho first opened fire. Sarah was obviously bothered by the fact that Yahoo had posted this clip for everyone to watch. She argued, quite articulately, that the media has a moral responsibility to safeguard against similar occurrences.

I had to admit, I did watch the clip that Cho provided us. Most of the time I could barely understand what he was saying. In truth, I am not quite sure what his point was in filming himself, other than sensationalism. I see clearly Sarah’s argument in not encouraging the mentally disturbed anymore then we already do.

Virginia Tech Pain and MourningHowever, a more compelling argument, in my mind, is that Yahoo needs to have more compassion for the victim’s families. I cannot begin to fathom the immense pain the family and friends of those slain must be feeling right now. To have Yahoo flaunt, on the most visited web page on the entire Internet, a killer of 32 people is not just inconsiderate but down right wrong.

To me this really shows the true culture of Yahoo—money. I can only imagine how many people watched the video yesterday. Which, with the 30 second commercial that plays before Cho’s debut, means a lot of dollars in Terry Semel’s pocket. By Yahoo’s 1st Quarter announcement this week I know they are financially hurting (relatively speaking), yet I would never recommend as a solid financial solution profiting off of the nation’s pain!

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