From Publishers Weekly
According to Coleman, the media's attitude is "death sells... if it bleeds, it leads." The author, who has written and lectured extensively on the impact of media, mounts a convincing case against newspapers, TV and books that sensationalize murders and suicides, thus encouraging others to imitate destructive crimes. He traces the problem's roots to Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther
(1774), which spotlighted a fellow who shot himself over a failed romance and inspired many young men to do the same. The novel encouraged widespread use of the term "the Werther Effect" when referring to copycat catastrophes. Coleman addresses Marilyn Monroe's 1962 death, pointing out that thanks to extensive coverage of the star's passing, "the suicide rate in the United States increased briefly by 12%." Other subjects include the 2002 Washington-area snipers John Muhammad and John Lee Malvo, whose actions spawned numerous sniper killings; suicide clusters among fourth-century Greeks; cult leaders Charles Manson and David Koresh, who attained gruesome glamour through melodramatic press perusal; Jack the Ripper—who created copycat killers from the late 1800s into the 20th century—and today's suicide bombers. Although readers may feel there's little they can do to muzzle media destructiveness, Coleman presents his advice to with enough punch to intrigue the public and possibly exert a minor influence on the press.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Dr. Steven Stack sociologist, Center for Suicide Research The media are still largely in a state of denial on how their coverage of death contributes to the violence and destructiveness in our society -- but Coleman's book should wake them up!
Benjamin Radford author of Media Mythmakers: How Journalists, Activists, and Advertisers Mislead Us
Coleman raises troubling questions about the media's hidden role in perpetuating the very crimes and tragedies they sensationalize.
Tess Gerritsen, M.D. author of The Sinner
A fascinating and frightening look at the bizarre outer limits of human behavior.
Kenn Thomas author of Popular Alienation
This is urgent reading.Publishers Weekly
A convincing case.