“Something must be done,” says Ellen DeGeneres. “This needs to be a wake up call to everyone that teenage bullying and teasing is an epidemic in this country and the death rate is climbing.” She directs people to her website, where she says there are resources for young people thinking about suicide. I found a link to TrevorProject.org. All over the place, big media is reporting on this story. Responsibly. Even on Bill O’Reilly’s program!
On Anderson Cooper’s show last night, he kept reporting on September’s deaths of five tween and teenage male youth who took their own lives. (Today we learned there is a sixth.)
From Good Morning America to the CBS Evening News to the New York Times, we’ve seen the mainstream media responsibly tackle these bullying stories. And they are not just calling attention, but calling out these bullies.
What I’m most impressed with, however, is that nobody (at least that I’ve seen) has welcomed on “experts” to argue anti-bullying measures are unnecessary. Because those people are charlatans. People like Minnesota governor hopeful Tom Emmer. Groups like the American Family Association. Finally, when it’s most crucial, these media outlets are refusing to tolerate the idea that homosexuality is what’s wrong, not the bullying.
The biggest surprise, however, was last night’s The O’Reilly Factor, where the program’s most reasonable analyst Margaret Hoover was joined by Bill O’Reilly and the usually ridiculous-just-’cause Gretchen Carlson in calling for the punishment of suspects Dharun Ravi and friend Molly Wei. Of course, Carlson had to qualify her remarks with noting it’s not just gay kids facing torment (which is true), and frame Ravi and Wei as “good kids who did an immensely stupid thing.” O’Reilly wholeheartedly disagrees.
Update: Might’ve spoke too soon! CNN’s Rick Sanchez says you can’t create laws for people who are “mean.” Says the always reasonable Sanchez: “‘Bullying?’ How is this bullying? You know, this whole term, it’s a psycho-babble, media term that we’ve made up. A person is mean to another person. How is this bullying?”