NBC blatantly exploits the media kit they were sent by the Virginia Tech Killer for ratings by justifying why they’ll be parceling out bits of the footage, photos and manifesto they were sent, obviously prior to the shooting rampage, under instruction from the FBI. After all, the kit needs to be analyzed. Of course it does. But NBC also need to ensure ongoing ratings so it seems they might just have taken a little cue from the Entertainment Tonight school of Anna Nicole Smith coverage, and get all the footage they need up front, maintain total exclusivity, and the ration it out in bits as the ratings ebb and flow. While the coverage of Anna Nicole’s death and the circus that followed was pretty ridiculous and clearly the product of outrageous hype, the actual events that made it up were more or less average. Anna Nicole died, she was sick and depressed, she was pumped full of drugs and there is and was a lot of money at stake. For the most part though, the players who kept the story going were, to one extent or another, opportunists who remain, at best, innocuous. The story was followed by the American people out of sheer self negating annoyance and a desperate need for escapism.
The massacre in Virginia actually involved people who were innocent victims of the core event, the shooting itself, that made this news. They weren’t there with a hand in the till or an ulterior motive and the implications of an event like this resonate on a real level for the rest of humanity. And yet, to a certain extent NBC’s treatment of this manifesto material, with their logos plastered all over everything etc. is, in essence, no different from the way ET dealt with Anna Nicole exclusives and that is pretty ghastly to think about. [source]