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Viral Morgan Freeman Quote About Sandy Hook Tragedy Is a Tacky Hoax

by Sasha Brown-Worsham on December 17, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Morgan FreemanThe Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings are inexplicable, tragic, and horrific. As such, naturally, people search for a culprit. The media, camped out in trucks all around Newtown, Connecticut, working in 24-hour cycles to bring us every detail, is an easy target.

A quote attributed to actor Morgan Freeman has gone viral on Facebook. Essentially, someone claiming to be Freeman blames the media for Sandy Hook, claiming the media's coverage makes the shooter famous and makes more people want to do things like this. 

It would be a vile and inappropriate claim even in a lesser tragedy. But to blame anyone or anything but Adam Lanza (and his access to guns and his mental state) is truly the height of poor taste. Oh, and also? It's a hoax. Freeman denies making the statement. In case you are wondering, here is the quote in its entirety:

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 Batmantheater 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.

Look, I get it. We are all broken hearted and grappling to make sense of it all and struggling to find someone to blame. We are all having nightmares and crying ourselves to sleep and burning the images of those poor, beautiful babies and their heroic caregivers into our brains. But blaming the media? Come on.

If the biggest issue right now is honestly how the media is covering the story, then we have some giant problems. Adam Lanza is the shooter and we need to know every detail about him and how he got into the school and what led to this rampage so that we can focus on the REAL issues here, issues like violence, school safety, mental illness, gun control, and more.

It's way too easy to "blame the media", pull together a shallow, not well-thought out quote, wrongly attribute it to someone famous, and get gullible Facebook users to share it. It's another to actually grieve together, be sad, and look at the real, possibly scary, reasons this happened in our culture.

Look, as a member of the "media," I don't want to be blogging on this story any more than you want to be reading it. I want to curl up in my bed, hold my kids tightly, and pretend things like this don't happen to beautiful, innocent school children.

But if we are going to prevent things like this from happening again, we are going to have to take a long, hard look at our society. We are going to have to be brave, and yes, we are going to have to look at Adam Lanza and all the factors that made him want to kill.

It isn't that the media is without any blame. Obviously, interviewing children is horrible and wrong and in poor taste. But that's not the reason Lanza went on a killing spree. The 26 victims of this horrific tragedy wouldn't be alive if the media ceased to interview all children.

Obviously, I get wanting someone to blame, but it's not the media who is at fault for this. The blame lies squarely on the shoulders and of one individual, and learning more about him -- his mental health, his access to guns, his motive -- is the key to preventing anything like this from happening again.

Did you see or share that "Freeman" quote?

 

Image via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr

Filed Under: crime

Comments

53
  • quinn007
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    quinn007

    December 17, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    I'm sorry but what a load of bullshit. Look at the statistics, crimes like this didn't start occuring on a somewhat regular basis until we entered the age of 24/7 news where murderers are made infamous in the blink of an eye. I find it incredibly frustrating that you say we need to take a hard long look at society but not the media, when that is one of the biggest influences in our society today. 


  • kelti...
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    kelticmom

    December 17, 2012 at 8:52 AM
    It may be tacky bc it's not really a quote by.Morgan Freeman, but whoever wrote it hit the issue square on the head. Truth sting you? Anderson Cooper refuses to say the killer's name. Good for him. That is exactly what these deranged killers want, to go down in a blaze of glory, to have their name live on. Because they are psychotic, narcissistic attention seekers. And the media DOES contribute to this culture that glorifies, sensationalizes violence. Yes, we all want to know what happened, we want to understand why. However, there is a fine line between responsible journalism and inadvertently making the villain the star. And it is true that even a few years from now, we will remember the name of this monster, but few will remember the names of the innocent victims.
  • fave82
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    fave82

    December 17, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    I agree with the comment above. PLUS, I'm pretty sick of everyone pointing fingers at once specific thing. Some are screaming gun control, some are screaming mental healthcare. Maybe what we need to do is look at our country as a whole and see that maybe it's everything. I'm not anti guns.. but I would concede that assault rifles should be banned. I also think that when you buy ammo it should go into some sort of system and get tracked so that people can't just load up.. I feel that conceal and carry is a good thing, but that a lot of hoops should be jumped through for it, such as a psych test and safety classes. I think we should take a good look at how violence in our society is portrayed on tv and video games.. And yes, I think a huge look needs to be taken at the media and how it makes these killers famous. Maybe its unrealistic but perhaps it would be better if they were never referred to by name and their pictures weren't splashed all over. I think that Obama likes to throw money at things, I'd be more than happy to have taxes raised for something like police presence at schools, lets have that be something that is federally paid for. I also think our leaders should go talk to the leaders of other countries and get their opinions about why we as a nation have this issue and no one else does. Clearly, we're not solving it on our own.

     


  • Zamaria
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    Zamaria

    December 17, 2012 at 8:58 AM
    I saw it but didn't share it. But I have to say that to some extent, the media does have some responsibility in this type of thing. Im sure that no one, media or not, is happy about this. But the coverage is rediculous. Interviews with kids, going over and over the details, releasing as many gory details as possible, in many cases exaggerating details, all in the name of getting more viewers or readers or whatever. It's disgusting. Yes, the nation should know what happened. But it shouldn't be so detailed. No one needs to interview kids to get their reactions. Viewers don't need every bloody detail. The media needs to stop sensationalizing these things. They shouldn't even release the killer's name. I have to say that the person posing as Mr. Freeman had some very good points. And if one of those teachers or office staff had been armed, how many fewer deaths would there have been? Disarming citizens will not help protect them. Murderers will still buy guns off the streets. What we need is to figure out why people are doing these things, what has changed in our society that makes so many people act this way, and correct those issues. And please, if you see sensationalized media reports on this or other similar events, turn it off. Don't read or listen to it. The media continues to do this because we allow it. We buy it. They won't stop until we do.
  • jhslove
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    jhslove

    December 17, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    Actually, this quote (whoever wrote it) has a good point. I see this as being mainly a gun control and mental health issue, but we as a society do have a crazy habit of celebritizing people who do horrible, stupid and outlandish things. For someone who's felt ignored and unimportant his or her whole life (and is both mentally unstable and able to access weapons), that type of instant notoriety could seem pretty attractive and accessible. We need to stop reinforcing it.


  • Rebec...
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    Rebecca7708

    December 17, 2012 at 9:54 AM
    Hoax or not, they make a valid point.
  • Maias...
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    MaiasMommy619

    December 17, 2012 at 9:55 AM
    You may not realize this but the media plays a huge factor in a lot of our lives everyday. For example when the news stations cover the Middle East they make it look like they are all a bunch of savages that want to drink the blood of Americans.. What they dont show is the amount of middle eastern people that are completely innocent and are being. killed everyday at the hands of their own people in the name of God or some other reason. But to the nieve American who doesn't know any better, every single Arab is an enemy and should be gotten rid of! This is all due to media coverage and how they paint those areas an people to be! Not everyone there is cutting off hands or marrying 14 women. People there are very normal law abiding citizens and actually live very peacefully.... But how would anyone in America or any other country know this if the media makes them look like animals??! The same goes for local news. The media can sway people's opinions very easily by what they cover and how they show it to the viewer!
  • tracy
    -- Nonmember comment from

    tracy

    December 17, 2012 at 10:02 AM
    I said the EXACT same thing. They are giving these idiots something to admire and basically something to become famous for!!!
  • Tracys2
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    Tracys2

    December 17, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    I did like it. I don't and never did care who said it first. It needed to be said. It's not the be-all and end-all of wisdom, but it has a good point.


  • dirti...
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    dirtiekittie

    December 17, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    i don't care if it was morgan freeman or not. it makes a valid point, and i agree. there's no way you can say "blaming media is a scapegoat" and then go on to acknowledge that interviewing the third graders was wrong. it's all about who breaks the headline first, never who's accurate or what really happened, so please don't use that as an excuse. i literally saw the story on this whole event change at least 4 times (the mom was a teacher, she wasn't a teacher, he acted alone, he acted with another person, he had ties to the school, it was a random event, etc etc) and the news still doesn't really know what happened. 

    tell me this: does knowing how he planned and pulled off this grisly tragedy really save you from anything? are you a better person for knowing whether or not he shot them in cold blood or out of revenge? 


1-10 of 53 comments

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