Press: When News Is Almost a Crime

In Alabama, a TV station gets a story that no one should want

The call was the kind that every TV news director dreads: a despondent person demanding the attention of a camera, and an audience, for one last desperate act. On scant notice and even scanter knowledge, the TV executive must decide whether the threat is news to be covered, or a cruel, senseless display that the cameras will only encourage. The voice on the telephone said, "If you want to see somebody set himself on fire, be...

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