The Daily Gamecock

Media coverage perpetuates criminality

Yesterday, CNN headlined one of the last interviews with Joseph Franklin, the infamous serial killer, before his scheduled execution on Wednesday.

For those of you who have never heard of him, Joseph Franklin is a serial killer who has been in prison serving multiple life sentences for the murders of 22 people. Franklin is a racist man who grew up as a member of several hate groups and shows zero repentance for his heinous crimes against those who he claims threatened the white race. The interview divulges his twisted theories about the benefits of a racial war and revisits the stories of those innocent individuals who fell victim to Franklin. In the interview, he describes how Jesus and Hitler inspired him and how he is proud that he has supporters who love him and his cause. While I can understand that trying to dissect the warped minds of such individuals can be somewhat intriguing, I find it appalling that we continue to reward monsters like Franklin with media coverage and the attention they thrive off of.

Joseph Franklin is nothing more than a crazed murderer, and providing him with a voice on one of the nation’s largest news networks grants him recognition and coverage of which he’s unworthy. He robbed 22 individuals of their lives, many of whom were complete strangers, strictly based on race. For that, the media is enabling him to feel that he deserves national attention. He speaks of his followers who adore him in his interview. Sadly, he is not mistaken; there truly are sick people out there who believe Franklin was not only justified in his killings but also a hero for carrying them out. It is not inconceivable to think that these individuals will be inspired by Franklin’s last words.

In our nation and world alike, there are so many issues that require our attention, and it is disappointing to see that with all else that is happening in the world, the story of this killer is considered newsworthy. We are permitting Franklin to believe that people care about him, and by allowing him to be glorified in the media, we are disgracing those he brought harm to. The focus becomes more about the story of the criminal than the innocent people whose lives he stole. The acknowledgment and interest we give him can be misconstrued as approval, and it is essential that it be known that this hateful behavior is in no way condoned. The best way to handle Joseph Franklin and other murderers is to refuse to give them a voice and leave them to the punishment they deserve.