The Brady Campaign this week unveiled an app that scrubs search engine and news site results, swapping out the names and images of notorious shooters with that of their victims.
Called “Zero Minutes of Fame” the effort, done in conjunction with Chicago’s famed Ogilvy & Mather marketing company, is a free downloadable Google Chrome plug-in that aims to anonymize infamous murderers and their deeds.
“Instead of rewarding killers and inspiring copycats, we should be lifting up the stories and the lives of victims, heroes, and survivors,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign. “The fact is, notoriety serves as a reward for these killers and as a call-to-action for others who would seek to do similar harm in the name of infamy.”
Brady is also backing a petition to encourage the media to stop showing the perpetrators’ names and images on their channels.
Criticisms of the media’s coverage of mass shootings is nothing new. Yet, there are few measures to prevent or obscure information about the suspect of a high-profile incident other than a total media blackout.
Others have tried to influence how media outlets cover mass shootings. For a complete story, one must identify key details of the incident, including the name of the suspect, but centering coverage on the killer gives him or her the spotlight.
The group NoNotoriety aims to reduce the infamy a killer can attain by committing a mass shooting. The effort was launched by Tom and Caren Teves after their son was one of 12 killed at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012.
The group was critical of the effort, saying it does not reflect the tenets of its protocol. “We hope it’s taken down,” the group said in a statement on social media.
“While the Chrome extension associated with the Zero Minutes of Fame campaign may serve as a parental control at best, the responsibility of reducing fame and notoriety that these rampage mass killers crave ultimately lies with responsible media coverage,” the group said.
“We are asking all media to implement a No Notoriety protocol to reduce a proven contagion affect and shift the focus onto the victims and heroes where it belongs,” the group added.
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