Tweeting Breivik

Media researcher Daniel Bennett asks whether it is ethical for journalists to Tweet from the ongoing trial in Oslo of serial child killer and fuckwitted Templar fantasist Anders Behring Breivik. Television and radio broadcasting of Breivik’s infantile soap-boxing is forbidden, but journalists are permitted to post live updates and comment to the web.

“It is also not unreasonable to expect people to be aware of the limits of Twitter as a medium. (Is it?)”

No, it is not unreasonable, if one assumes that Twitterers are reasonable people. The problem is that Twitter use is for many a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, and their behaviour, along with their ability to rationalise and contextualise information, is open to question.

Bennett is asking some pertinent questions, but at the same time I cannot help thinking that he is grasping at straws in his evident struggle to find answers. The Norwegian judiciary is caught in a near impossible situation, and I have no specific criticisms to make of its handling of the Breivik trial. But much of the reporting of the trial outside Norway – where there is added decontextualisation arising from translation – is abysmal.

That said, some of the interviews with survivors have been good. We could do with more interviews in which the subjects are allowed to go beyond soundbite responses to the often dumb questions beloved of rolling news broadcasters, and far less editorial wibbling.