Prof. Shi Anbin appears on CCTV to discuss killing of U.S. journalists on live television

The sensationalistic coverage of the killing of two American television journalists during a live broadcast reflects “the amplification of deviance” that has gripped U.S. media, Professor Shi Anbin, associate dean of Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication, said during an appearance on CCTV’s World Insight program on Aug. 29.

Professor Shi said the gunman, a former colleague of the slain journalists at a Virginia television station, “used the media to exaggerate his own viewpoint of society.” The killer posted a video of the shootings on social media before taking his own life during a police chase. Many news outlets around the world shared images of the incident on their web sites and social media.

“This so-called ‘freedom of the Internet’ actually violates freedoms of other people who do not want to view such disturbing images,” Professor Shi said, later adding, “From this incident, we realize that Internet governance is a kind of issue that we all have to think about.”

He blamed U.S. media economics for sharing questionable material in an attempt “to draw more money, to draw more attention.”

“This American model of commercial journalism has resulted in the amplification of deviance,” he said. “I think we should reflect on that.”

Another CCTV guest, Professor Christopher Chambers of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., noted that the global Internet has provided “so much space for everyone from hackers to terrorists to sexual perverts and people who prey on children. On the other hand, we want the free flow of information and commerce that this digital medium provides.”

Professor Shi said the lesson for China is not to embrace American models of journalism and Internet governance.

“We cannot follow the so-called commercialized principle of journalism, that’s one thing,” he said. “We have to adhere to our own way of reporting journalistic practices.”