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Norway attacks: The public must be trusted with the facts

In Europe News, World News on July 25, 2011 at 10:07 pm

By Ian Reeves

No doubt Anders Behring Breivik will have been sorely disappointed that the presiding judge banned the media from attending his first hearing. Because although there’s still plenty we don’t know about his motivation for slaying nearly 100 of his countrymen, it’s clear enough that he wanted the media to play a key role in his grotesque project.

His manifesto – all 1,500 rambling pages of it – was emailed widely to those sympathetic with his far-right views, and he will have known that its wider dissemination would be assured after his plan was carried out. It contains many references to UK newspapers – including appreciative comments about Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips and pieces for the Sunday Times by Jeremy Clarkson.

Then, as his plan neared fruition, he belatedly decided that social media could also play a powerful role. Both his Facebook and Twitter accounts appear to have been set up just a few days before his attack, and just over 500 people had read his single tweet, a quote from John Stuart Mill.

Breivik is by no means unique among mass murderers in understanding the role that the media plays when their terrible crimes are perpetrated.

Perhaps most notably the Virginia Tech killer Seung-Hui Cho actually paused during his…

Full article…

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