Honestly, I don’t get it. The horrible photos of the exact moment deranged racist Vester Lee Flanagan opened fire on Alison Parker convey what happened in specificity and clarity that no mere verbal description could. If your issue is gun violence, this shows it. If you want to see and understand what tragedy is “up close and personal” and even if you don’t want to understand it, this is how we learn. The furious criticism being focused on the Daily News is traditional Daily News hate, as far as I can determine. That paper has been criticized for having the guts to show raw images for a century now: one of its first outrages was a surreptitious photo of murderess Ruth Snyder being electrocuted:
Now that photo is history. Today’s front page will be history too.
At the journalism ethics site of the Poynter Institute, Kelly McBride, Poynter’s vice president for academic programs and a media ethicist, argues against using the unedited pictures, saying that “the problem with it is that it a deeply intimate image. It is a moment of someone’s death.”
You mean like….. this?
That’s just thousands of people being incinerated in Nagasaki, but from a distance, so it’s tasteful, is that the idea? Well, what about this award winner…
That’s not “intimate”? Or are graphic pictures of horror not considered tasteless if they involve Asians? I’m sure you remember this one..
That was the AP, and another award winner. Why is the shooting of Alison Parker less worthy of a photograph than a Vietnamese execution? Why is it more “intimate” than this….?
Photographs help us feel and comprehend events far more than any words can. Want to understand why boxing is barbaric? Here’s a boxer getting permanent brain damage…
Do you wonder why Capt. Wirz, commandant of the Andersonville prison camp for captured Union soldiers, was hanged after the Civil War? This photograph of one of the camp’s survivors (for a while, anyway) makes it pretty clear, I think:
That’s a famous photograph too., and it’s a lot harder to look at, for me anyway, than the Daily News front page this morning. Still, it is important for us to see it. To understand.
Publishing grisly photographs merely to shock and to appeal to the prurient and the perverted is unethical, but such photographs have no redeeming value at all. The assassination of Alison Parker and Adam Ward was the news story of the day, and the picture conveyed it as nothing else could. The publications that blurred the images infantilize their readers, and were not doing their jobs.
Al Tompkins, senior faculty at The Poynter Institute, declared that the images from the shooter’s perspective shouldn’t be published. Readers can find the image somewhere if they want to, Tompkins said, like the Charlie Hebdo cartoons that sparked a massacre. He’s right. The news media should have published those too. His ethics are a bit askew as well: this flunks Kant 101. If everyone follows Al’s ethical formula, nobody will publish the photos, and searching for them will be futile. His theory is self-refuting.
Readers shouldn’t have to search for information because the news media is censoring according to political correctness and situational ethics. The news media is sensitive to these particular photos because the victims were journalists, and the napalmed Vietnam girl was not.
That’s not taste.
That’s a double standard.
The news media is good at those.