Shock Rocker Marilyn Manson has been a popular artist since the early 1990’s. In 1999 in the aftermath of Columbine which became a media circus where most news outlets reported that Marilyn Manson’s music had influenced Eric Harrris and Dylan Klebold in their decision to kill 13 of their classmates. Marilyn Manson was blamed as well as the Goth Subculture because both were were already preconceived by the general population as bad influences to begin with. this is due to the dark and sinister look Manson gives off when he performs as seen in this video.
As evident by the this Music Video for Marilyn Manson’s Sweet Dreams, Manson is very counterculture and often offends conservative Americans who don’t see the message or the ideas Manson is trying to make the listeners thinks about. As Manson said in the Bio Network’s biography on himself that he often will sing about things or say and do things in order ton offend people, because by offending those people he forces them to think. Fox News reported rather quickly after Columbine happened that the assailants was a gang of goths wearing Marilyn Manson shirts. It later came out that it was only two boys who were only loosely associated with a goth group at the school. It was also discovered much later that Eric and Dylan were not even fans of Manson’s music. So why was Manson blamed with such haste and intensity?
The Media often gets into a frenzy when certain events, such as the Columbine Massacre, capture the public’s attention. The effect of of Columbine is still felt today 15 years after the shooting
For as tragic and as heavily covered as Columbine was there still remains many misconceptions about what led up to Columbine. These Misconceptions exist because the Media frenzy led to reporters asking people involved in Columbine, but did not ask those people how they knew what they knew. Basically fact checking went out the window in the name of getting the information out for the public to consume. The media also turned the the two boys from teenage boys into monsters. It was simply easier for the public to deal with what the boys did if they were monsters and not teenagers. Benjamin Fryer, an American Behaviorist, said
“Through the print and television media following the shootings, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were transformed from complex teenagers into concrete identifiable objects for the public to fear, to hate, and to consume”.
this quote accurately describes how the media framed what happened at Columbine High School. An example of how the Media transformed Eric and Dylan is seen in the Photo of the Time Magazine up above. these framing techniques employed by the Media were used grab as many ratings as possible but inadvertently led to the misconceptions that still linger today. Its important for us as the Consumers of this information to re-frame from passing judgment until all the facts are in, or else we might end up with misconceptions about what actually happened. With Columbine the truth is that Eric was a psychopath and Dylan was overcome with Eric’s strong personality. Its important That we take a step back and think critically when a news story is breaking in order to avoid misconceptions. Marilyn Manson is an example of how the Media blamed Pop Culture for inciting violence. Artists’ music causing people to commit crimes is a theme that gets attention and gets ratings. We just have to remember to wait and think critically about what is said by the media. Here is a PSA that proves this point