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A recently-posted YouTube video featured eight teenagers from Florida beating another teenage girl to a state of unconsciousness. Why in the world would these girls post this incriminating video, the evidence, confirmation, and proof of their guilt online? It seems completely illogical, but they may have had the perfect plan.

Did they post it so they could have a “hit” video on YouTube? Homemade “stars” have been making it big in the real world, not just on the Internet, and these eight attackers took their “stardom” to a whole new level. The violence in this video was brutal. Clips and pictures from the video have been shown on several television stations, newspapers, and websites. The teenage attackers were arrested and charged with beating the 16-year-old teenage girl in order to post the attack online, but nevertheless, their video made national headlines.

Thankfully, the proper authorities made the arrests. But this incident raises an interesting question: who is at fault for this explosive situation? Some people blame the attackers for posting it. These girls clearly stepped way over the line in terms of morals and ethics. Some people blame YouTube for allowing the attack to be posted on the Internet. Better screening of the videos being posted on the site should have been undertaken to prevent this type of incident. Even others say that the public and media is to blame for giving the video the attention that it was intended to receive.

Legally, YouTube is not to blame. It is exempt thanks to a 1996 anti-pornography law which includes a provision stating that Internet service providers are not publishers because they only retransmit information provided by other sources. Thus, YouTube is technically innocent. The violent video has been pulled from YouTube, and in the video’s place are several self-published discussions and opinions about this “animalistic attack.”

I don’t think anyone would doubt that the girls involved in the attack are definitely responsible for their violent acts, but perhaps more at fault lies with the media and the public. It seems like these attackers got exactly what they wanted from posting the video – PUBLICITY. They’ve now had far more than their 15 minutes worth of fame. I’ve read about them on the Internet, seen them on the news – I think I’m even going to see one of them on the Dr. Phil show (way to post bail for a criminal Dr. Phil).

The media predictably falls back on its conception of being an objective party, one that always observes and reports, but never causes. By publicizing incidents like this video, they implicitly condone the violence involved. But bailing out the criminals to put them on TV? That is entering a new realm.
Dr. Phil bails out accused ringleader in Teen Attack – F


6 thoughts on “Self-Produced Videos Hit the Public Jackpot
  1. Jeff Pickett says:

    A very interesting topic, Holly! One I’ve discussed many times over the past few years. Does the internet imitate life, or does life imitate the internet? Don’t even get me started on the societal implications of social networking sites! It’s strange to think what “15 minutes of fame” meant decades ago when press and entertainment were so much more exclusive, versus what it means now. Anyone can reach a global audience through channels such as YouTube, and as movies and media have taught us in the past: violence sells. It’s hardly even surprising that impressionable teenagers would commit such an act. This recalls those halcyon days of the early 90s when kids were shooting one another and blaming it on gangster rap.

    I guess I should note that I’ve also been accused (many times) of being a Neo-Luddite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-Luddite), so what do i know?

  2. Great post Holly. This is definitely a tricky issue. I feel very strongly that it is not how the event gets publicity, but the reaction to the event which matters most. You cannot place blame on Youtube as it was just the vessel by which to publicize the video and by limiting access in any way, free speech and civil liberties will be violated. The media on the other hand is accountable. What the staff members on Dr. Phil’s show did is despicable and is exactly the reaction to the event which gives it undue positive reinforcement, regardless of the rational behind it. Justice and consequences must be enforced and made clear to stop events like this from becoming “copycats.”

  3. Jason says:

    Is it just me, or does anybody else see a similarity to the media’s view on violent video games? The media would rather blame the industry than the people who claim they did whatever due to video games. Take some responsibility and try not to blame everybody else for your problems. (ok I know I went off on a tangent, but good post Holly)

  4. NLander says:

    “подробней пожалуйста”

  5. Jurikbz says:

    Это должно быть в цитатнике

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