Within the Darren Wilson grand jury story lies a nugget of digital media fear. The prosecuting attorney, Robert P. McCulloch, took time in his statement to blame social media for warping the pursuit of justice.
First, McCulloch sees social media as resposible for social unreast:
Within minutes, various accounts of the incident began appearing on social media. The town was filled with speculation and little if any solid accurate information. Almost immediately, anger began brewing because of the various descriptions of what had happened...
This is a classic fearsome media move, assigning responsiblity to the medium, rathen than to its producers or consumers (the same people, in this case). It also reduces popular claims of injustice by viewing them as ill-sourced.
Next, McCulloch criticizes social media for making his job difficult:
The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation has been the 24-hour news cycle and the sensational appetite for something to talk about. Following closely behind were the rumors on social media.
This shifts the attack from inspiring civil unrest to harming law enforcement and the justice system.
As usual, someone who attacks digital media then recommends restricting its use:
I join with Michael Brown's family, and with the clergy, and with anyone and everyone else; the NAACP, the Urban League, and every government official, and private citizen that you've heard encouraging everyone to continue the demonstrations, continue the discussion, address the problems, but do so in a constructive way, not in a destructive way. [emphases added]
In 2014 it doesn't take much to make such claims, given decades of digital media fearsome meme-mongering.
They identified the types of killer as: reactor, informer, antagonist, fantasist, predator and imposter.
Surprisingly, the authors backed away from demonizing Facebook:
Yardley added that there was nothing inherently bad about social media. “Facebook is no more to blame for these homicides than a knife is to blame for a stabbing. It’s the intentions of the people using these tools that we need to focus upon.”
Nonetheless, people may well pick up on this story as another way to try viewing Facebook as a terrifying place.
ISIS and younger Islamic radicals can use the internet even more than their predecessors, claims a Financial Times article. Robert Hannigan goes beyond the old "e-Qaeda" meme, mixing in the digital native concept to argue for even greater surveillance.
Police have issued a statement on their national website entitled “Evil Clown Phenomenon”
Not only have les flics just given away a terrific band name, but they also demonstrate just how far this pitre meme has gone. Even other civil authorities have taken a hand:
On Thursday, the village of Vendargues, population 6,000, near Montpellier issued a decree warning that “individuals or groups of people aged 13 or more” are banned from dressing up as clowns on streets and in public spaces on October 31st and November 1st.
Some of the cops even have a taste for cinema:
This followed a warning last week from Pas-de-Calais police in northern France that “clowns inspired by Texas Chainsaw Massacre are not welcome outside schools.”
While others are minding anti-evil-clown vigilantes on social media (yes):
Police have warned would-be anti-clown vigilantes, who have also created Facebook pages, not to take the law into their own hands.
When will French nationalists denounce the Evil Clown Phenomenon as another vile American import?