This tool blocks shooters from their 15 minutes of fame, but not everyone is pleased
Posted May 2, 2016
To help address the growing debate over whether the news media should reduce its mentions of perpetrators in mass shootings, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has created an online tool that helps users focus on what the group thinks is most important: The victims.
Called Zero Minutes of Fame, the plug-in is available for download as a Google Chrome extension. The group hopes that its plug-in will help prevent future shootings in the wake of waves of media coverage that typically follows the events — likely inspiring copycat events, some research suggests.
While some media outlets have balked in the past at the suggestion that they not name a shooter at all or name he or she only once, Poynter Institute ethicist Kelly McBride told Newsweek she's in favor of the plug-in.
"It gives power to the people who want to support that, but it still gives responsibility to the newsmakers, the news creators, it gives them the ability to do their job as well," Newsweek quoted McBride.
Ironically, one of the biggest critics of the plug-in is a pioneering advocate of the movement to deny shooters any fame. Tom Teves, who founded the group No Notoriety with his wife after losing their son Alex in the Aurora, Colorado, shooting in 2012, says the tool doesn't hold the media accountable enough.
"It’s counterproductive because it then gives the media an opportunity to say, ‘Well, just use the plug-in if you don’t like it,'" Teves told Newsweek. “The shooters aren’t going to use the plug-in. What you’re trying to do is stop the shooters.”