A man, described by authorities as a disgruntled former colleague, gunned down a reporter and cameraman during a live broadcast Wednesday morning, then posted video of the shooting online. The suspect, identified as Vester Lee Flanagan aka Bryce Williams, turned the gun on himself hours later. He died at the hospital from a self inflicted gun shot wound, authorities said.
Flanagan, 41, recorded himself carrying out the attack and posted the video on his social media accounts after fleeing the scene. On twitter, a user identifying as Flanagan tweeted, saying: “I filmed the shooting see Facebook”. Both the Facebook account and Twitter account were suspended.
While the video circulated on social media, various media outlets began to become heavily criticized for airing the footage. CNN, said it would no longer air the footage after announcing it would show the video “once every hour”.
Users on twitter quickly noticed how the media and public treated visuals of white victimhood as opposed to Black victimhood. For many, it was a continuation of protecting the sanctity and humanity of Whiteness. Images of Black death however were products for media consumption. The same outlets who opposed airing the shootings, have played and replayed footage of Blacks being the victims of police violence.
CNN is going to play the WDBJ execution video “once per hour.” Yet they played black folks getting killed by police ALL DAY, on repeat.
— Derrick Clifton (@DerrickClifton) August 26, 2015
News outlets say the video is “too disturbing” to show you but looped the deaths of Eric Garner and Walter Scott every other minute. K…
— Race Jones (@Shugnice) August 26, 2015
Media: Black folk brutalized by cops ?? Kenyan massacre photos ?? ISIS terrorizing white people ✋? White broadcasters shot ✋? K. ??
— Nessa. (@curlyheadRED) August 26, 2015
Since it involves white people RT @axolROSE: Since when does Twitter snatch accounts to prevent them from showing homicides?
— Queen of Sanity (@Pinky_Balboa) August 26, 2015