“For a culture so steeped in violence, we spend a lot of time preventing anyone from actually seeing that violence,” says an Ethics Dunce quoted with reverence in the New York Times essay, “From Sandy Hook to Uvalde, the Violent Images Never Seen” “Something else is going on here, and I’m not sure it’s just that we’re trying to be sensitive.” Hmmm, what could that ‘something else’ be? It’s a mystery!
It’s ethics, you blithering fool. The Dunce is Nina Berman, a documentary photographer, filmmaker and Columbia journalism professor. See that least part? Is it any wonder that journalists are now our least ethical professionals? Jelani Cobb, incoming dean of the Columbia University School of Journalism, is also quoted as saying, “I’m not at all certain that it’s ethical or right to display these images in this way.”
Not certain? The Times piece is about the hesitance to use gory pictures of children with half their faces blown away during school shootings in news reports. “Frustrated Americans ask whether the release of graphic photos of gun violence would lead to better policy,” the Times says. This is a classic example of journalism malpractice. By “better” the Times doesn’t actually mean “better” in the sense of well-considered policies balancing interests and outcomes while applying sound and objective analysis of all relevant facts. “Better” means “the policies that anti-gun activists like our leadership and staff support, because those are the ‘good’ policies and policies that support Second Amendment rights are ‘bad’ policies.”
The activists who want anti-gun policies, whether they work or not, whether they make sense or not, whether they are constitutional or not and whether they would have stopped the particular mass shooting being exploited by the Left as “a crisis that should be let go to waste” or not, want gory photos of dead children published because they appeal to emotion over rationality, and thus will make it easier to get their agenda adopted.
There’s a reason why such photos are usually not allowed into evidence in murder trials. Judges tend to rule that they are prejudicial, appealing to jurors’ emotions and making a fair consideration of the evidence more difficult. Sure, prosecutors think such photos lead to “good verdicts” because a good verdict to them is a guilty verdict.
A child who is shot dead with a bullet through the heart dies just as quickly as a child whose head is blown half off. What matters is the child’s death, not the details of the death. What is the useful policy information conveyed by a gory photo? “Oh, 19 children killed is bad, but now that I know how awful the bodies looked, I understand that it’s really bad, and we have to stop it!”
The Times article and its various cherry-picked “experts” (they didn’t interview me for some reason) never articulates the difference between Sandy Hook/Parkland/Uvalde graphic photos and, for example, photos of dismembered fetuses in late-term abortions, which the news media also won’t let readers see. The latter actually do convey important information necessary for fair and objective policy considerations. Late-term fetuses are indistinguishable from babies, and dismembered late-term fetuses look exactly like butchered babies. This has a tendency to make the pro-abortion “Nah, the only human being involved in choice to have an abortion is the mother” fiction untenable. Much of the public has been conditioned to ignore what abortion is. No such confusion exists regarding murdered children. Instead, the Times uses graphic photos of slaves,
…which do convey the brutality of the practice, for the education of those who think of slavery as well-cared for servants happily picking cotton in the fields. Slavery is not a rational analogue to gun ownership. Those scars are what slavery was. Representing bloody bodies of children as the reality of gun rights is not illuminating, it is a distortion.
The Times essay is nothing better than another unethical tactic in the current effort to inflame public emotion and warp the policy-making process for the benefit of the anti-Second Amendment forces.