Enough Breivik Already!

Michael Schlieben, of the esteemed German commentary-newspaper Die Zeit, can’t take it anymore: Stop the Breivik Soap Opera!

Mass-murderer as Superstar: Many in the German media are exploiting the private life of the Oslo-gunman – and thereby making him an icon.

To tell the truth, I’m also getting rather tired of hearing about this guy as well – speaking of course in the context of my own media circles, which include the German only to the extent of my daily trawl through all European media.

I actually wasn’t aware of the lengths to which some outlets there have gone in pursuit of this story. Yes, there’s been some questionable stuff from the Bild Zeitung – oooh, if you click there today you get to see the actual explosion-site of his Oslo car-bomb, with hole-in-concrete and debris all around! And Schlieben says that from the Bild readers have also been able to learn of Breivik’s acne when younger, his continual troubles finding a girlfriend, and even the herpes of his step-father(!). A surfeit of information there, we can all agree – but then that’s the Bild, which for decades has carried on News of the World-type reporting for the German reading public.

No, more disturbing is other papers getting into the act which one would think would know better. This blog and Twitter-feed often invokes Berlin’s Der Tagesspiegel, but that publication has seen fit to reproduce all the photos off of Breivik’s Facebook profile. And we all know Der Spiegel, which has displayed on its pages photographs of the mass-murderer in an array of uniforms. Other publications (unnamed) have gone into his tax returns, or plumbed his musical tastes, perhaps from his on-line playlists.

Now, it’s not like this guy should be ignored, and over in the US an interesting debate has touched off about the alleged affinity between his “manifesto” and the extreme views of some evangelicals. Still, the sort of mass-voyeurism that Schlieben describes is all that a mass-killer with an ideological agenda could ever want. Yes: “the terrorist has won.”

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