Sensationalist Headlines And Chicken/Egg Arguments

Today’s Richmond Times Dispatch front page screams about how that evil devil music is leading kids to kill people left and right. Or, rather, how one kid may have been influenced by violent rap lyrics to murder four individuals:

Police: Lyrics may have played role in Farmville slayings

Investigators are trying to determine whether a suspect’s fascination with violent rap lyrics fueled the killings of four people found dead Friday in a Longwood University professor’s home.

Richard Samuel Alden McCroskey III (which is a pretty hoity name, if you ask me) was arrested at Richmond International Airport in connection with the killings. McCroskey was a big fan and singer/rapper or Horrorcore, which is different from regular rap in that it’s about doing awful things like killing people. Wait…

Anyways, the gem in the article is this:

One song attributed to McCroskey on one of his MySpace pages discusses committing murder in a rage, trying to get rid of the remains and driving a stolen vehicle.

So here’s what the RTD wants you to think.

McCroskey’s fascination with music, rap music in particular, horrorcore rap music specifically, may have led this guy to kill four people. Just look at the lyrics.


Anyone else see a problem with that “logic”?

It’s like saying bad literature may have led Charles Manson to be crazy. JUST LOOK AT HIS OWN ATTEMPTS AT LITERATURE!

It’s an attempt at sensationalizing the story in a matter that appeals to base emotions.

Books lead to violence.

Movies lead to violence.

Video games lead to violence.

Music leads to sex, drugs, and more violence. It’s like a hat trick for the Devil!


Really messed up crazy kid’s violent writings showed a mind that could comprehend doing horrific acts.

Now, this is certainly a slipperly slope because it’s hard to say the lyrics showed a troubled youth who needed an intervention. I’m sure there are plenty of perfectly sane folks who are into horrorcore rap, so saying the lyrics are a sign of madness and anyone involved needs help is a bit of a leap.

Over the next few days and weeks I’m sure we’ll find out more about McCrosky and a lot more red flags will pop up aside from his facination with writing violent lyrics.

But, really, Richmond Times Dispatch? Really?

No wonder no one buys your rag.

UPDATE: Ryan Nobles at NBC12 discusses the chicken and the egg argument with VCU’s Robin Diehl.