Chron Editor Phil Bronstein says he decided against printing the most startling, “Rambo” images of Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui in today’s edition. “To me, that is so manufactured,” Bronstein is quoted by reporter Matt Stannard on Sfgate as saying. “It’s real in the sense that he used the guns in a horrible way, but those particular images of him with the gun are such manipulation,” he said. “They reflected the image that he wanted to have live on, so we made a decision consciously not to reflect that image.”
In the same article, former Merc editor Jerry Ceppos said, “If a tape or letter is newsworthy, then the public ought to be exposed to it, even if there is the downside of giving bad guys some publicity. … I get uncomfortable when the media over-thinks issues. In most cases, I’d rather share the information with the public and let them decide … The journalist shouldn’t be in the position of playing god and deciding what people need to see and what people don’t need to see,” said Ceppos, who is currently a fellow in media ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.